David Norton: Chilmark firefighter for half a century

Chilmark Fire Chief David Norton received a community farewell Wednesday evening at the Chilmark Firefighters Association’s annual Backyard Bash. After 50 years of service to Chilmark on the fire department, Norton is handing his chief’s helmet to Jeremy Bradshaw. Chilmark selectmen appointed Bradshaw to the position on July 23

As the Missis Biskis band took a break, Bradshaw came to the mic and thanked Norton for his service. Bradshaw also thanked current and past firefighters for their service on the department, and said Norton would be further feted at an upcoming event at the Chilmark Community Center. That event will also honor Chilmark firefighters who have died. 

Selectmen chairman Warren Doty presented Norton with a wood-mounted certificate of appreciation from the board.

“It is from the selectmen of the town of Chilmark to our esteemed fire chief for all the work that you’ve done,” Doty said. “Congratulations.”

The firefighters association honored Norton with photo-frosting sheet cakes, one of the chief himself, and one of the Chilmark Fire Station, with Norton’s pickup truck parked out front. 

“I want to thank the town of Chilmark for putting up with me for 50 years,” Norton said. “They may have to put up with me for a few more, but in a lesser capacity. I will still try to hang around and help as much as I can, and help the new chief here with his homework. And he’s going to have plenty of it. He doesn’t know how much yet. But he’ll do a great job. He’s energetic. And hopefully he can bring in some new recruits and be around for the new station when it ever gets built. And hopefully they’ll let me in to check it out.”

Norton told The Times in addition to helping Chief Bradshaw transition into his new role, he plans to remain a firefighter, albeit one who no longer has to attend smoke and gas alarm calls. He said he intends to spend more time with his grandson Liam. 

Held on the lawn behind the community center, the Backyard Bash is a public barbeque thrown by the firefighters association. Proceeds from food, raffle, and T shirt sales go to the association’s scholarship fund. They also help pay for children’s Halloween and Christmas parties thrown by the department, and for the department’s fire prevention week.