During a swearing-in ceremony on June 30, Marion said farewell to Chief Thomas Joyce, its 12th fire chief, and welcomed Chief Brian Jackvony, its 13th fire chief.
Jackvony was officially sworn in before an audience in the Marion Music Hall, which was drenched in afternoon sunlight, with firefighters and Honor Guard members from the Police Department surrounding the perimeter of the room, and family, friends, and supporters seated beside and behind the new fire chief.
The ceremony began with firefighters and the Honor Guard, dressed in full uniform, marching in led by the traditional sounds of the bagpipes. Marion Selectman Jody Dickerson opened the ceremony and addressed Jackvony, his wife Linda, two sons, and some colleagues from Cumberland and other surrounding towns in Rhode Island.
“To our neighbors in Rhode Island, we welcome you to Marion,” Dickerson said.
Selectmen Chairman Stephen Cushing said it was not only a time for celebrating as the town welcomes its new fire chief, but also a time for honoring the man who has served in the fire chief position for the last six years.
Cushing said he admires Jackvony’s sense of family and community, saying Jackvony has a vision, not just for the Town of Marion Fire Department, but also for the fire service profession in general.
“We have no doubt he will emerge as a strong and effective leader of the Marion Fire Department,” said Cushing.
After the official swearing-in performed by Town Clerk Ray Pickles, Jackvony addressed those in attendance from the podium.
“I am very excited to have this opportunity at this point in time in my career with the Marion Fire Department,” said Jackvony. “This is a proud, vibrant, and well-organized Fire Department.”
Jackvony praised the Fire Department’s dedication to the Town of Marion and the dedication of many of the Fire Department’s members who have served as firefighters for many years.
“I am in awe when they tell me how long they’ve been with the department,” said Jackvony.
As for the future of Marion, Jackvony said his main goals are to “build community equity” and engage the community through neighborhood programs to help reduce the number of fires and household accidents.
Jackvony then turned to Joyce and said, “I have quickly come to realize that I have very large shoes to fill.” He continued, “The respect [the members of the Fire Department] have for their chief is obvious. It is now my job to earn the trust of these men and women…”
Jackvony quoted Sir Isaac Newton when he said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Now he sees, Jackvony said, that he is indeed standing on the shoulders of giants.
During his fond farewell to Joyce, Cushing said Joyce had exceeded all the town’s expectations during his tenure, noting his accomplishments, including the merger of the Emergency Medical Service and the Fire Department “at a time when everyone thought such a merger was impossible.”
“People can look around and say, ‘He made a difference,’” Cushing said. “Tom Joyce, you made a difference. And our grateful community says ‘Thank you.’”
By Jean Perry