City Manager Augustus names Deputy Chief to replace retiring Fire Chief Dio
Geoffrey Gardell to take over post Aug. 15
WORCESTER – City Manager Edward Augustus today announced that Deputy Chief Geoffrey Gardell will assume command of the Worcester Fire Department when longtime Chief Gerard Dio retires on August 15.
“Worcester is blessed with an abundance of talent in our Fire Department, and I am thrilled to appoint Geoff Gardell, who will be able to step into the role of chief and hit the ground running,” Augustus said. “Chief Dio has been a part of the City of Worcester family for 35 years, and we are sorry to see him go. But the department is being left in good hands.”
“I would like to thank the City Manager for choosing me as the next WFD fire chief, I am honored and excited for the opportunity. Chief Dio is leaving big shoes to fill; he is the ultimate professional and I have learned much from his tutelage,” said Gardell. “I would like to wish him much happiness on his well-deserved retirement.”
Gardell, 58, has informed the City Manager he intends to retire in the next 12-18 months. Gardell will serve in the role while the city conducts a thorough assessment of candidates for a long-term replacement.
To replace the slot filled by Gardell’s appointment, District Chief Michael J. Lavoie will be promoted to Deputy Chief. Lavoie’s appointment will be permanent.
Promoted to deputy chief in 2011, Gardell has been in charge of administration and support, overseeing the daily activities of training, prevention, and apparatus and station maintenance. He also served as the department’s public information officer, handling news inquiries and communicating vital information to the public.
Gardell, a native of Great Brook Valley and lower Vernon Hill, has been with the department since 1984. He has served in a variety of roles, including on the SCUBA team and the tech rescue team. While serving as Captain of Heavy Rescue 1, Gardell was one of three firefighters named Worcester Firefighters of the Year for their efforts in a heroic rescue.
Dio has been fire chief since 2000. During his tenure, the department made great strides in modernization, including a new fire station on Franklin Street, new 911 call center on McKeon Road, new burn buildings, SCUBA gear and other dive equipment, and several new fire apparatus through state and federal grants.
The department also made vital improvements in safety under Dio’s watch. Worcester was the first city in the nation to tag vacant buildings as structurally sound for an interior attack, following the devastating 1999 Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse Fire.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Chief Dio was a teacher in the Worcester Public Schools prior to joining the department.
“Chief Dio has led Worcester’s fire department through tragedy and triumph, and for 15 years was the heart and soul of one of the finest departments in the nation,” Augustus said. “His leadership will be missed.”
Chief Lavoie has been with the department since 1987 and currently serves as the North End District Chief. He has proven his leadership and communication skills time and again while serving as incident commander at countless fire scenes.
A ceremony will be held Aug. 14 at City Hall to swear in Chief Gardell. More details will be announced as the date approaches.
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“StandUp for Kids Pasta Dinner Fundraiser
Worcester- StandUp for Kids Worcester will be holding its first annual Pasta Dinner Fundraiser on Thursday, August 6th. 5:30pm at the PNI Club. Dante will be serving up his delicious pasta creations of all you can eat marinara, carbonara and bolognese. There will be special guest speakers, live music and raffles. Chef Alina Eisenhauer of Sweet will be providing dessert and Pure Juz will be providing beverages. 100% of the purchase price of $20 will go directly to StandUp for Kids Worcester, a nonprofit devoted to helping homeless and at-risk youth in Worcester. Since opening their drop-in center last year they have helped dozens of homeless youth become self sufficient and contributing members of society.
When: Thursday, August 6th, 2015 at 5:30pm
Where: PNI Club – 290 Millbury St. Worcester, MA 01610
What: StandUp for Kids Pasta Dinner Fundraiser
Price: Tickets are $20. Raffle Tickets $1
Tickets can be purchase at the door or by donating $20 to the Worcester chapter online at https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/standupforkid ”
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