GRAFTON, Mass. -- Phil Gauthier, former Grafton Fire Chief and long-term "first responder" is being awarded "Humanitarian of the Year" by the local Lions Club.
Gauthier was a firefighter for 44 years, first as an on- call auxiliary fireman, then becoming a member of the Board of Fire Engineers, and then finally working his way up to Grafton's Fire Chief.
During that tenure, Gauthier made sure his stations had the newest equipment and his on-call squad had the latest training.
His son, Mickey, is now the current fire chief.
Gauthier also contributed to the evolution of the town's modern fire fighting operation. He established Grafton's First Rescue Squad, a team that focuses on saving people trapped in burning houses.
He also helped raise money to purchase the department's first "Jaws of Life," a hydraulic rescue tool typically used to free crash victims from their cars.
After he retired from the fire department, Gauthier continued to be a supporter of the community. Currently, he is the Chairman of the Fisherville & Farnumsville Streetscape Committee which, in June, dedicated a new park in South Grafton.
But even today Gauthier can't stay away from a fire. When firefighters are on a call, he will often show up with "Snack One," a refurbished ambulance that offers food and drinking water to the squad.
On Dec. 1 a dinner ceremony in his honor will be held at the Polish National Home on Main Street in South Grafton. Tickets are $25 per person. Contact Sue Robbins at 508-839-6862, or Noelle Dowd at 508-839-3618, if you wish to attend.