Caswell honored for work in Wilton

WILTON – Ron Caswell joined the town’s volunteer fire department on Jan. 1, 1977. He served with six fire chiefs, was named assistant chief in the 1990s, but in the end, declined to become chief himself.

On Sunday, Jan. 22, dozens of well-wishers, townspeople, former firefighters and town officials packed the fire station to express their thanks for his 45 years of service and wish Caswell a happy retirement.

“In November we ordered a plaque to give him,” Fire Chief Don Nourse said, “but it hasn’t arrived. He’ll get it when does.”

When Caswell joined the department, the fire chief was Gil Testa. “The second chief I worked with was Rene Houle,” Caswell said.

In the 1980s he was made a lieutenant and then a captain.

“Ray Dick was chief when I was named assistant chief.” That was in the late 1990s, and he has held that position ever since.

Fire Chiefs after Dick were Jim Cutler, Scott Thompson, and now Don Nourse. Both Dick and Thompson were among the well-wishers.

“When I joined the department, I worked in town,” Caswell said. “I was around a lot, and it was the thing to do.”

He was asked to be chief when Cutler moved away.

“But then I was working out of town,” Caswell said. “It’s a lot of work and you can’t do the job over the phone.”

The chief needs to be accessible and available when there is an emergency. And there is now a lot more to the job than just fighting an occasional fire.

Nourse is the town’s first full-time fire chief.

Caswell officially retired on Dec. 31. 2022. He didn’t say what he plans to do now. He currently lives in Lyndeborough.