A tribute worthy of the man
Megan and Dennis Alley. Photos by Ralph Stewart
Planning a retirement party for someone who is adamant about not having one is difficult, especially when the person is my father, Dennis Alley. However, after 52 years of service on the Fire Department in the Town of Oak Bluffs, there was no way he was going to escape it.
Dennis Alley's grandson, Sam Alley (left, front) and his daughter, Mary Alley, enjoy one of the many lighthearted moments at the retirement party.
I was the one who had the job of telling my Dad that we were having a party, and that he was expected to attend. Much of what was said can't be printed here, but suffice it to say that he was not thrilled. I thought two months notice was plenty to let him get used to the idea. But right up until the day before, I had calls from folks who wondered if he would attend. Word on the street was that we had a better chance of seeing Elvis than seeing my Dad at the party. That comment prompted a cardboard cut-out of the King joining Buddy DeBettencourt during his speech.
Elvis may have left the building, but he showed up at Dennis Alley's retirement celebration last Saturday at Waban Park in Oak Bluffs. (From left) Dennis Alley, Buddy DeBettencourt, and the King.
The response from the people I contacted for donations in the business community in Oak Bluffs was very positive. Anything I asked was answered with, "For your Dad? Just tell me what you need and where to deliver." It's great to hear that when you are putting together any kind of event, but special to hear when it's for your dad.
Two Oak Bluffs police chiefs: Erik Blake (left), the current chief, and Joe Carter, the former chief.
The family was on "Dad-Alert" all morning to track his whereabouts. He arrived right on time with my mother, Megan. At one point I looked up from what I was doing and the few people had turned into a few hundred. The tables were filled and people were lined up all around the tent. I thought how wonderful it was to see my family; from my 95-year-old grandmother, Bumma, to my niece, Paige, who at two was the youngest of the clan, and all those in between. And there were friends that Dad had grown up with and worked with over several decades. It reminded me how much this community takes pride in honoring those who give of themselves.
Mary Alley is Dennis Alley's daughter.