Przekopowski ‘humbled and honored’ to lead Holyoke Fire Department

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  • Action Ambulance Vice President Rock Thibeault, left, congratulates new Holyoke Fire Chief Jeffrey Przekopowski after his pinning ceremony Wednesday at department headquarters. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Holyoke Fire Chief Jeffrey Przekopowski greets former Fire Lt. Ed Daly, who retired 43 years ago, and others at the new chief’s pinning ceremony at department headquarters on Wednesday. Seated with Daly are, from left, Jean Cavanaugh of Holyoke, Przekopowski’s mother, Joyce Przekopowski, and his mother-in-law, Mary Lou Bolko. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • New Holyoke Fire Chief Jeffrey Przekopowski addresses friends, family and colleagues during a pinning ceremony in the department headquarters truck bay on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • New Holyoke Fire Chief Jeffrey Przekopowski, left, talks with Holyoke Auxiliary Police Chief Ronald Dietrich after a pinning ceremony for Przekopowski at the department headquarters on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Springfield Fire Commissioner BJ Calvi, left, talks with new Holyoke Fire Chief Jeffrey Przekopowski after his pinning ceremony on Wednesday at the department headquarters. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • In the audience for the pinning ceremony for new Holyoke Fire Chief Jeffrey Przekopowski on Wednesday were, from left, former Fire Lt. Ed Daly, Przekopowski family friend Jean Cavanaugh, Przekopowski's mother, Joyce Przekopowski, his mother-in-law, Mary Lou Bolko and his wife, Kelly Przekopowski. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Kelly Przekopowski pins the Holyoke Fire Chief badge on her husband, Jeffrey Przekopowski, during a ceremony in the department headquarters truck bay on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • During his pinning ceremony in the Holyoke Fire Department headquarters on Wednesday, new Fire Chief Jeffrey Przekopowski observed a moment of silence for two community members that recently passed: Douglas Morse, brother of Mayor Alex Morse, and former firefighter Richard Knightly, who retired in 2013 after 32 years of service. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 2/26/2020 4:30:54 PM

HOLYOKE — To Jeffrey Przekopowski, becoming the city’s newest fire chief is an achievement that’s only attainable through teamwork — both at home and on the job.

Speaking to more than 100 attendees at his pinning ceremony Wednesday at the Holyoke Fire Department’s headquarters at 600 High St., Przekopowski gave an emotional thanks to his family for sacrificing so he could “chase my dreams” in earning the department’s highest rank. He also thanked past officers at the department who helped him climb to the position.

“They taught me about leadership, sacrifice (and) integrity,” said Przekopowski, 53. “Qualities that still mold who I am today, and I’d like to continue to mentor people going forward with these qualities.”

Before he spoke, Przekopowski was administered the oath of office by Fire Commission Chairman George Mettey and was soon after pinned with the fire chief’s badge by his wife, Kelly Przekopowski.

Jeffrey Przekopowski expressed gratitude to the past fire chiefs that he said he’s worked under for the past 29 years, lauding their work on securing new buildings and equipment. Przekopowski became acting fire chief when former Fire Chief John Pond had his final day of work in January.

“The leadership that they’ve displayed, their vision … where we are today (is) because of them,” he said.

At the end of his remarks, Przekopowski praised the professionalism of members of the fire department, going through many of the different divisions of the department to highlight their work.

“All of you, collectively, make this department second to none,” Przekopowski said. “And I am so humbled and honored to lead this great organization.”

Before Przekopowski’s speech, Mike Bloomberg, chief of staff to Mayor Alex Morse, spoke on behalf of the mayor’s office. Bloomberg called the city’s firefighters “the heroes that protect the people of Holyoke. When others are running out, these are the ones running in.”

Przekopowski, as fire chief, is “charged with protecting these heroes,” Bloomberg said.

“All of us in this room, all of the folks at home, are counting on you to protect our heroes,” Bloomberg said. “And we couldn’t be more grateful than to have someone like you, with your upstanding character.”

After the ceremony, Przekopowski’s mother, Joyce Przekopowski, said she was proud to see her son rise to the rank of fire chief. Her father, Will McGarrity, was a captain in the Holyoke Fire Department and she said firefighting was “in the genes.”

“My son’s the first one to achieve the rank of chief,” she said.

Lt. Robert Sadowski said he’s worked with Przekopowski for the past 15 years and said he was confident in Przekopowski’s leadership.

“I’ve seen his professionalism and his courage,” Sadowski said. “He’s very approachable.”

William Alicea, president of the Holyoke firefighters union, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1693, also said he was confident in Przekopowski.

“Chief Przekopowski is going to do a great job,” Alicea said. “We’re looking forward to working with him and making this department bigger and better.”




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