Parker settling in as Phillipston Fire Chief

  • Phillipston Fire Chief Jeffrey Parker. Greg Vine

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 11/24/2019 9:50:16 PM
Modified: 11/24/2019 9:50:14 PM

PHILLIPSTON – Forty-eight-year-old Athol native Jeffrey Parker has spent 25 years with the Athol Fire Department, over time working his way to the position of deputy chief. While that position carries with it a number of daunting responsibilities, Parker has recently added even more by recently taking on the job of fire chief in the neighboring town of Phillipston.

Asked what attracted him to the dangerous job of firefighter, Parker explained, “I had seen some different tragedies in town as a young man and wanted to be someone who could help out in my town, in my community.”

“I knew the two previous (Phillipston) chiefs,” said Parker. “The previous chief, John Duguay, had to leave the post because of his pension. So, at the time, Phillipston was looking for an interim chief and I was approached and asked if it was something I wanted to take over. I’ve always aspired to serving as chief, so this is something I want to take on in addition to what I’m doing in Athol, which is full time. Hopefully, I’ll eventually land a full-time chief’s job.”

Parker officially assumed his duties in Phillipston on Sept. 1. While he serves a population in Athol of just under 12,000, that of Phillipston is around 1,800.

“There are some minor differences,” said Parker, “but the jobs are very similar. Athol has a fully-staffed full-time department. Phillipston, one daytime staff person and no staff other times on the weekends and at night. It’s a different atmosphere, but Athol has a combination department, so I’m very familiar with working with call departments and call firefighters. It seems to be a good mix in Phillipston.”

At the moment, Parker can be found at the Phillipston Fire Department in the evenings, mainly to accommodate his position in Athol.

“My full-time job is Monday through Friday during the day in Athol,” he said. “On nights and, sometimes, weekends I’ll fill in Phllipston to make sure I get my time in there and to get done the work I need to get done. My wife will tell you it’s a little bit tough on the home life; she doesn’t see me very much. But it’s something that’s good for my growth and, hopefully, for my resume moving forward.”

Parker said between the two jobs he’s putting in 60 to 70 hours per week.

In addition to being married, Parker has three sons ranging in age from 14 to 26, one of whom appears to have an interest in following in dad’s footsteps.

“My youngest, the 14-year-old,” he said, “is in the Fire Explorers program in Athol.”

“One of the reasons I took this job is because Phillipston is a great town,” Parker concluded, “and I want to be able to help that community. I want them to know I’m as dedicated to them as I’m dedicated to Athol. I want to make sure the people of Phillipston know that.”


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