A New Harbor firefighter who remains active with his department after 65 years of service received the Chief Bob Maxcy Lifetime Achievement Award Aug. 19.
Jack Brackett joined the department at the age of 14 in 1950. He was captain of the New Harbor station for more than 50 years, from the mid-1950s until 2010.
Lincoln County Fire Chiefs Association President Neil Kimball presented the award to Brackett during the association’s annual meeting and lobster bake at the South Bristol Fire Department Aug. 19.
“For 65 years, Jack has demonstrated sound leadership and professionalism as an officer and member of our department,” Bristol Fire Chief Paul Leeman Jr. said in a letter nominating Brackett for the award.
“Jack can still be seen walking from his home to Station 1 after hearing a page for Bristol Fire & Rescue,” Leeman said. “When Jack jumps into any of our apparatus, you know it will arrive in a safe and timely manner and its pump operation will be done with confident precision.”
Just last week, Brackett completed training to operate the department’s newest truck so he could do so during an upcoming test that the department hopes will improve Bristol’s ISO rating which affects property insurance rates throughout the community.
“Jack is a true gentleman who takes great pride in his family and his department,” Leeman said. “It is with honor and pride that I nominate Jack Brackett for this prestigious award of lifetime achievement on the anniversary of his 65th year as an outstanding member of Bristol Fire & Rescue.”
Brackett previously talked about his firefighting career during an interview with The Lincoln County News on the occasion of his 60th anniversary with the department.
When Brackett started fighting fires, the department relied on sirens and whistles to rally firefighters. Later, the chief’s wife would call firefighters one by one. Today, firefighters receive pages on handheld radios or cellphones.
The son of one of the original members of Bristol’s fire service, Brackett founded a well-drilling company in 1968. The new fire trucks are “small compared to my driller,” he said, perhaps explaining his ease with the equipment.
“If I could help somebody out, why, I’d gladly do it,” Brackett said in the 2011 interview. “Over the years we’ve saved quite a few buildings around here … It gives you a pretty good feeling if you can save something for somebody.”