It runs in the family…
Firefighting and public service has run in Daigle's family for generations. His late grandfather (on his mother's side) Howard Begley, Sr. was a World War II veteran who fought in and around the New Guinea area.
A year or two after he returned from the war, he was hired by his hometown of New Britain, where he spent the next 35 years as a firefighter before retiring as Captain of Engine Company #7.
Begley then continued his service to the city as a Fire Commissioner until he regretfully stepped down, shortly before his death in 2008.
Daigle's father, Gregg Daigle, had volunteered with the Pratt & Whitney Fire Brigade in Middletown for 25 years. His mother, Kathy Daigle has been a school nurse for the town of East Haddam for over 25 years.
And, the family’s legacy doesn’t stop there. Daigle's older brother, Patrick, recently joined the Madison Valley Rural Fire Department in Ennis, Montana. Three of his uncles are New Britain police officers, one of which has gone on to be a Judicial Marshal for the State of Connecticut.
"I'm pretty pumped to be the new East Haddam Fire Chief, and it's been a goal of mine since I first entered the department 13 years ago," Daigle said.
"I never thought this would happen so soon though, as certain ranks typically come with age in the fire service. I consider myself very lucky to be the Chief at only 31 years old."
Daigle joined the as a Junior Firefighter during his senior year in high school, back in 1999.
"I was limited as to some of the duties I was able to perform, but was as active as possible," Daigle explained.
"While I was a Junior Firefighter, I became certified as a State Firefighter-1 after training at the Eastern Connecticut Fire School in Willimantic."
Remaining active for all four years while he attended college at UMass Amherst, he was elected as Lieutenant at the end of his junior year.
Upon graduating from college in 2004, Daigle completed Firefighter-2 training. He was elected Captain in 2005.
"That made my grandfather extremely proud," Daigle said.
"I continued attending a variety of classes and seminars between then and now, completing my Fire Instructor-1 and Fire Officer-1 certifications, back-to-back between September 2010 and April 2011. My parents raised me to be a hard-worker and a go-getter, so I'm always striving to learn more and push myself to new levels. I guess I've been raised under the notion that with some hard work and dedication, there's not much that can’t be accomplished, all in good time of course." Daigle remarked.
When he’s not working…
The new chief has a few hobbies outside of his responsibilities with the fire department (believe it, or not!). When he's not on duty, Daigle loves the outdoors, especially hiking and fishing. He's a big fan of the Red Sox and likes to play golf, which is no surprise, since his full-time "paid" job is as Superintendent of the in East Haddam.
Daigle is also a licensed pilot, stating that he loves "anything aviation" and enjoys flying small straight-wing aircraft in his spare time.
The complete list of newly elected officers and responsibilities for the EHVFD:
Chief: Shawn Daigle
Deputy Chief: Michael Cooley
Captain: Marty Bogue, Apparatus Maintenance
Captain: Brian J. Auld, Communications and Personal Protection Equipment
Captain: Ray Swol, Department Training Officer
Lieutenant: Donald Tyrsek, Rescue 1-15
Lieutenant: Bryan Kane, Ladder 7-15
Lieutenant: Kevin Rutty, Engine 2-15
Lieutenant: Bill Siegmann, Marine Units
Lieutenant: Jerry Boynton, Engine 6-15
Chief Daigle replaces Fire Chief Don Angersola, who had been the chief for the past 12 years in East Haddam. Angersola is currently the Fire Marshall for the Town of East Haddam, as well as maintaining his other full-time job as Building Inspector for the Town of Bristol.
A final note from the Chief: "New members are always welcome."
We are always looking for new members to join the department. Where else can you get free training, help out your community and receive other benefits along the way?
Whether it involves being part of the pension program (fully vested after 20 years) or receiving the property tax abatement after 3 years, volunteers receive both of these awesome benefits for being a volunteer firefighter!
We are currently looking for firefighters and Fire Police. If anyone is interested, please call the fire house at 860-873-5036 or stop by Company #1, located at 447 Town Street, East Haddam, between the hours of 7a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for an application.