BRATTLEBORO >> Peter Lynch started a new job on Tuesday.
"I'm quickly learning there's going to be a lot to learn," the former assistant chief of the Brattleboro Fire Department said. "People have been very nice and extremely helpful but there's going to be many months of learning for me."
Lynch's new title is chief of training for the Vermont Fire Academy. He said he won't be teaching classes. He will be managing instructors and working with different agencies around the state to provide training. He'll also help with developing curriculm about fire service training and budget management.
Lynch didn't know he would have such a diverse career in firefighting. He said he had always done a lot of training in the Brattleboro department. He was a part-time instructor for the state of Vermont for many years.
"But I never imagined that I would leave the Brattleboro Fire Department," he said. "This was just an opportunity that came along that was really a very good fit for me and hence the move."
The career change comes after 32 years in Brattleboro. Lynch moved up from captain to assistant chief nine years ago. Previously, he volunteered on the West Dummerston department.
He plans on commuting to the northern parts of the state for now. He lives in Dummerston and his daughter is a senior in high school.
The academy is in Pittsford, "just the other side of Rutland," said Lynch, who will be working out of an office there. But the job will take him all over the Green Mountain State.
On Wednesday, Lynch was in Waterbury. He was heading to Barre later.
Lynch said he had a lot of "great role models involved in fire service" throughout his life.
"The thought of helping people out always felt good to me and you know, I can't really put my finger exactly on why I went the route that I went. There were a whole bunch of very good people along the way, from day one, that helped me to get where I am today," he said, adding that he will miss the Brattleboro department "so much. I'll miss the wonderful staff that I've worked on for so many years. I'll miss the agencies that we worked with every day. I'll miss the community and the town staff. For that matter, entire town staff."
Having grown up in Brattleboro, Lynch said the transition is "very different for me."
He's grateful for his parents, who he said helped set "great direction" to his life. They "were what got all our family to the great spots we are in today," he said.
"I have a very supportive wife that keeps me very well grounded," Lynch said. "A lot of people of people in the community worked very hard to get me where I was today."
For the next 18 to 24 months, he plans on focusing on the academy. Then he might consider taking on a volunteer position.
Lynch said he is excited about the growth the Brattleboro department will have over the next several years. Len Howard was sworn into Lynch's old position on Tuesday.
"I think Lenny (Howard) will do a great job," said Lynch, who couldn't be at the ceremony because of work. "It was so nice to see pictures of his family there."
Chief Mike Bucossi helped Lynch learn the job. They worked closely together when Bucossi was bumped to chief and Lynch became assistant chief.
Although Bucossi is losing his "right-hand man," he said they will be friends forever. "When you eat and work with somebody and spend as much time as we did together, it's a bond that will last a lifetime."
Bucossi called Lynch "the perfect person" for the position at the academy.
"It's a tremendous opportunity for him," said Bucossi, and a tremendous opportunity for the state. "Fire service training was starting to fall behind a little bit. Pete is just the person to go in and take it apart and put it back together. He has been involved with the academy for years as an instructor and has been on the curriculum committee setting training standards for the state."
Bucossi said losing a person with 32 years on the job is a great loss to the department and to the community. "It's not just the experience, but it's also the knowledge base of not only firefighting but also the community — the alleyways, the driveways and the short cuts."
But Bucossi said the Brattleboro Fire Department has been lucky in that many of its firefighters have been kicking around the building for a long time. "We have a lot of experienced firefighters who will be promoted. There is going to be a transition period with two promoted to captain and two promoted to lieutenant. And we just hired two new guys."
Bucossi said Lynch's character shone through every time the department responded to a fire or other emergency.
"He's 110 percent a professional. He is an organized guy and doesn't ever get rattled. He keeps everything lined up and moving forward.
Call Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273.
Bob Audette contributed to this article.