Receiving a bronze speaking trumpet from your co-workers might seem like a strange recognition, but in the firefighting world, it’s the ultimate honor and was presented to Plymouth fire chief Richard Kline this past spring at the department’s annual recognition event. The fire service community united to make the event possible, even flying Kline’s son in from Texas for the night. The honor came just in time, a few months before the longtime chief announced his retirement at the end of August.
Traditionally, the speaking trumpet was used to amplify the officer’s commands to his firemen. For the Plymouth firefighters, the recognition of their chief was one of gratitude for his leadership and integrity, as well as a vote of confidence.
“He was very surprised, very honored and very humbled,” assistant fire chief John Blake says. “One of the first things out of his mouth was, ‘It’s the people.’ He gives credit to others, and he’s a fantastic boss.”
Some of Chief Kline’s achievements include reducing response time and taking the department from a volunteer department to a “duty crew” service, where firefighters are staffed and on call. “He always looked to make things better,” Blake says. “If it’s going to benefit the safety of our community, he was a big advocate.”