Monterey honors former fire chief of 55 years

MONTEREY — Raymond Wallace Tyron dedicated more than five decades of his life to public service in the Town of Monterey. And this past weekend, the community came out to the long-standing fire chief.

A celebration of life for Tryon was held at the Monterey Fire Station on Saturday, Nov. 23 and drew an audience of residents, town officials and members from surrounding fire departments.

Tryon, 90, passed away on Saturday, Nov. 16 at home, surrounded by his loving family.

Serving as the town’s fire chief since 1953, Tryon also held the title of Town Constable for 65 years up until 2018.

In 1948, Tryon started his own excavation company: Tryon Construction Company. He later helped oversee the planning and construction of the new Monterey Fire Station in 1980, located at 411 Main Road, which moved the station from its previous location across from Town Hall.

Mark Makuc, captain of the Monterey Fire Company, said the former chief will be remembered for his leadership and dedication to the town’s fire services.

“He’s a legend because he went the full route from horse-drawn carriage to what we have now,” said Makuc, who joined the Monterey Fire Department when he was 13 years old. “His influence is still here in this building and in the way the department is run.”

Tryon was a strong advocate for fire safety during his tenure as fire chief, said Makuc.

“It was paramount to Ray that the guys be safe and that nobody gets hurt … he was very good about that,” he said. “He was always big on training and equipment, and making sure we could do our job right. That attitude still exists to this day because of him. “

Serving as the town moderator since 1984, Makuc said Tryon’s spearheaded efforts to improve the fire department were always well received from the voters of Monterey.

“When it came time for a fire truck, when he got up and spoke [at town meeting], the people listened,” said Makuc. “There never was a fire truck that was turned down in this town.”

The current apparatus for the Monterey Fire Company includes a ladder truck, an engine, two rescue vehicles and a brush truck. The fire company has 23 members and is led by Tryon’s grandson, Shawn Tryon, the department’s current fire chief.

Kenneth Basler, chairperson of the Select Board, and Select Board member Don Coburn both described Tryon as one of the “elders” in town.

“Ray always had good input and he helped develop the foundation of the fire company,” said Basler. “He was one of those people who meant a lot to Monterey.”

Coburn added, “Ray was a wonderfully dedicated citizen.”

Even after his 55 years at the helm of the town’s fire department and subsequent retirement, Tryon was a member of the Fire Chiefs Association. Aside from his role as fire chief, Tryon also was a member of the town’s conservation commission, capital highway improvement committee, safety committee, veteran’s memorial committee and the historical committee during various times of his life.

Makuc said that in the changing times of society and fire safety standards, it was Tryon’s attention to detail that made his legacy last for over a half-century.

“So many times, it’s so simple when a beeper goes off and it’s a house fire call. Everybody rushes and wants to put water on it,” said Makuc. “Ray would say to watch for the wires behind you or the propane tank that is going to explode. We had to do our job and do it the best we could, but not at the cost of getting hurt. I think it’s a professional attitude of protecting us and sticking up for the guys as time went on.”

Speaking outside the fire building that Tryon helped bring to fruition, Makuc added, “It wouldn’t have happened without Ray.”

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