By VICTOR BARBOSA
HOPKINTON - Hopkinton-Fort Jackson firefighter Richard M. Daby has been there when his community needed a helping hand during emergency situations for over five decades and recently received recognition for his efforts.
Mr. Daby was named the recipient of the 2013 St. Lawrence County Firefighter of the Year in January and was given his award at a recognition dinner earlier this month at the Parishville Firemen’s Hall.
“I was very surprised when I found out that I won the award,” Mr. Daby said. “It’s a great honor that the fellas have recognized me for this.”
The award was given by the St. Lawrence County Fire Chiefs Association. Forty-one fire departments in the county are members of the association.
“We submitted nomination letters and the review board selected him from the nomination letters,” Hopkinton-Fort Jackson Fire Chief Steve Parker said. “There are some years when they give the award for doing one specific heroic act like saving somebody from a fire. But we thought Richard Daby was deserving for all of his years of service and his countless very selfless acts.”
In his letter of recommendation for Mr. Daby, the chief noted his “numerous personal sacrifices in the name of family, friends, community and the fire department.”
In his 56 years of service to the community, Mr. Daby has held many various offices, including secretary, third assistant chief, second assistant chief, assistant chief, and first assistant chief. He also served as fire chief from 1974 to 1978.
Mr. Daby was joined by his wife Virginia and numerous family members at the Saturday ceremony.
“My older brother, who has passed on was the first chief, of the Hopkinton-Fort Jackson Fire Department, Harris Daby,” Mr. Daby said. “My children were all there and (Virginia’s) sister and husband from Tennessee were there as well. We had a dinner and then the awards ceremony after the dinner, which was very nice.”
Mr. Parker has been working with the award winner for eight years and noted that the last Hopkinton representative to garner the honor was more than a decade ago.
“We had Jerry Goldsworth win the award in the past 10 or 15 years but (Mr. Daby) is the first one since then,” the fire chief said.
Mr. Daby is also active in the Hopkinton Historical Society, Hopkinton-Fort Jackson Cemetery Association, Hopkinton Food Pantry, Summerfest Committee, Hopkinton Congressional Church and the American Legion.
Raised on a farm in Hopkinton, Mr. Daby is also an Army veteran.