By Liz Premo , Atlantic News Staff Writer
Atlantic News, Friday, February 22, 2008
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]
HAMPTON -- It's official: Hampton Fire Captain Matt Clark has retired after 30 years of dedicated service.
"This was one of the toughest decisions of my life, but the time was right for me to go," says Clark. "I was in a position where I could allow others to move up in their careers and make a difference by me leaving."
Captain Clark was feted by his fellow professionals at a luncheon held on January 11, three days prior to his official date of retirement on January 14. Family and friends were also in attendance to celebrate his career.
Clark was hired by Hampton Fire/Rescue on March 1, 1978. Over the next three decades he worked his way up through the ranks of firefighter, lieutenant and his current rank of captain.
For the last several years of his career with Hampton Fire/Rescue, Clark served as the shift commander for Group Two.
According to his col-leagues, Matt was known for "his caring manner when in the ambulance as well as his tenacious ability on the fireground."
With Clark's retirement, the Hampton Fire Department promoted Lieutenant Justin Cutting to the rank of captain. In addition, Fire-fighter Sean Gannon was promoted to the rank of lieu-tenant to fill the position left vacant by Cutting's change in rank.
"These are incredible young officers who do an excellent job for us each and every day," said Deputy Chief Steve Benotti of Copt. Cutting and Lt. Gannon. Captain Clark's retirement is especially timely, as he feels it will afford him more time to spend with his family and get a chance to do some traveling as well.
"For years I was away holidays and weekends but now I can spend more of that with my family," he says, adding that he "will miss the guys" of Hampton Fire/ Rescue.
Clark also notes that he is "not going to have much time to relax" as he will be "taking advantage of his time to catch up on loose ends." Commenting on Clark's retirement, Deputy Chief Chris Silver comments, "He will be missed, but we wish him all the best."