Longtime Bourne Deputy Fire Chief Set To Retire
By: MICHAEL J. RAUSCH, August 18, 2014
After 35 years on the job, Bourne Deputy Fire Chief David M. (Skip) Kingsbury has announced his retirement from the department, effective September 6.
In a short memo to Bourne Fire Chief Martin Greene and received by the Bourne Board of Selectmen last week, Chief Kingsbury revealed his intentions, and said “it has been a pleasure to serve the citizens of Bourne.”
A native of Weston, Chief Kingsbury said that he summered in Bourne with his family. In high school, he worked at Sandy’s Restaurant, where he met former Deputy Fire Chief Robert W. Eldridge. Chief Eldridge, who passed away in June, and another firefighter eventually helped Chief Kingsbury get hired by the Bourne Fire Department.
He said that he began his long tenure with the fire department as a call firefighter. From there, he was promoted to full-time firefighter, and then made dispatcher before being laid off in the late 1980s. Eventually, he was brought back as a dispatcher before again being appointed a full-time firefighter. He was promoted to lieutenant in the early 1990s and named deputy fire chief later that decade.
Chief Kingsbury served as fire chief, from 2006 to 2009, and he also pointed out that after high school he attended Cape Cod Community College, where he earned a degree in fire science.
“Bob Berry [former Deputy Fire Chief Robert J. Berry who passed away in 2006] and I were the first in the Bourne department to have degrees in fire science,” he said.
Chief Kingsbury said that he has been on leave from the department since March when he underwent hip replacement surgery. He said that a couple of things led to his decision to retire. One was his eligibility for retirement, and the other was coming to grips with the dangerousness of being a firefighter.
“Some have gone out in a box, that’s not a good thing. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring,” he said.
Of his time in the department, he said his most enduring memory will be meeting and working with so many people, both his fellow firefighters and the public.
“It’s been very enjoyable working with the people over the many years,” he said.
He said there was a good camaraderie in the fire department, and helping the public was something that just came naturally to him.
“They paid me to help people, and I’d do it for free,” he said.
Chief Kingsbury said that over the years he has come to know many of the people in Bourne, and he likes the small town sensibility that can be found here.
“There’s a lot less than six degrees of separation. Everyone knows each other, helps each other, and that’s a good thing,” he said.
He said that by getting to know the public, and them getting to know him, if someone was in a bad situation and he was called to the scene, “it was a friend helping out.”
That knack for helping is Chief Kingsbury’s trademark, Deputy Fire Chief Joseph J. Carrara said. Chief Carrara called his colleague’s retirement “a big loss to the department,” and pointed out that many of the firefighters who were promoted were on Chief Kingsbury’s shift and mentored by him. He added that Chief Kingsbury would never ask a younger subordinate firefighter to do something that he would not do.
He also described him as “a hard working guy who cared solely about the people in this town” and who was “motivated by the good of the townspeople.”
“I think there’s a void that will never be filled. I can’t say enough good things about him,” Chief Carrara said.
Chief Kingsbury said that his retirement plans involve some home projects and more time out on the water boating. He also plans to do some traveling; the Azores are already on his radar, he said. As for where home will be in the future, he has no plans for leaving Bourne.
“This is God’s country,” he said.