One couldn’t help but notice that the sun made an appearance on an otherwise cloudy day just as the speaking program for Fire Chief Paul Flanagan began at his well-attended retirement celebration.
There’s a literary term for that. Yes, the sun was shining on one of Winthrop’s favorite sons, Fire Chief Paul Flanagan, who was serving on the last day of his outstanding 43-year career in the Fire Department.
Interim Town Manager Terence Delehanty, who has served as police chief during Chief Flanagan’s administration of the Fire Department, had earlier given a resounding introduction to his colleague his public safety, telling the large gathering, “The man of the hour, Paul Flanagan, has arrived.”
Liam Horsman, regional director of Sen. Edward Markey’s office, presented a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition extending “our deepest congratulations to Chief Flanagan for 43 years of remarkable service to the Town of Winthrop.”
Former Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo spoke about “my good friend, Paul Flanagan and the years of service that the Flanagan family has given to the Town of Winthrop.
“I don’t know if there were any more dedicated family than we have had than the Flanagans,” said DeLeo.
DeLeo recalled how Paul Flanagan’s father, former Chief Charles J. Flanagan, was such a bright and positive influence on his son, Robbie DeLeo. “My son, who was 5 years old at the time, said to me, ‘Dad, I want to be like Chief Flanagan, that’s who I want to be like’, and that’s the way it was.’’
“When you get to know this particular chief [Paul Flanagan], and you know what he’s done for this community whenever we’re in need – he was always there,” said DeLeo. “When I would talk to fire chiefs from around this state, they would undoubtedly talk to me that Winthrop had one of the best chiefs that they could have in Chief Flanagan. Thank you for everything you’ve done for this community as evidenced by the large number of people that came out today.”
State Rep. Jeffrey Turco presented a state citation to Chief Flanagan. He jested wonderfully, “Mr. Speaker used to come here and bring millions of dollars and a citation, I get to bring citations and no millions of dollars.”
Continuing his remarks, Turco said, “This is a celebration of Paul Flanagan and his family on 140-plus years of service to the Town of Winthrop, but it’s also an opportunity to thank the men in red and blue, every day in the town that sacrifice and serve the people of Winthrop and the neighboring community, so I want to thank the firefighters and the police officers that are here.”
Terence Delehanty said, “On behalf of the town, Paul, thank you for your friendship and your service. Thank you for your family’s service.”
Andover Town Manager Andrew Flanagan, Chief Flanagan’s son, told the large gathering, “He sets the bar for public service. He sets the bar for what we all strive to be at all levels of government, whether we’re town managers, mayors, elected officials, or the people that work on the front lines of public safety. Thank you, dad, for setting the bar quite high for all of us.”
New Winthrop Fire Chief Scott Wiley said, “Over the course of the years, he was my captain, he was a role model, he was a mentor, and most importantly at the end, he was my friend. I want to thank Chief Flanagan for his 43 years of service and the entire Flanagan family for all of their years of service and wish him continued success and nothing but the best in your retirement.” Praising Chief Flanagan’s contributions to Winthrop, former Winthrop High School guidance department assistant Marianne Nicoletti said, “He was the best. He did a great job. I’m going to miss him. He was my buddy.”