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Longtime New London firefighter named Norwich fire training and safety director

Norwich — A veteran New London firefighter and battalion chief was sworn in for his new career as the director of training and safety with the Norwich Fire Department, while a veteran Norwich firefighter was promoted to lieutenant Monday.

Fire Chief Tracy Montoya named retired New London Fire Battalion Chief Mark Waters as the Norwich department’s new director of training and safety and promoted 12-year Norwich firefighter Adam Griffin to lieutenant during a ceremony at City Hall. About two dozen family members, city officials and fellow firefighters attended the ceremony, the first in-person public promotional ceremony since the start of the pandemic.

“The two positions, director of training and safety and fire lieutenant, are quite unique,” Montoya said. But they share one common bond. They share the core value of the fire department. They share the mission of putting service over self. And I expect nothing but great effort from both of them.”

Waters, of Preston, had served 25 years in the New London Fire Department, retiring as a battalion chief. Overall, he has 34 years of firefighting experience, including years in the Montville and Oakdale fire departments prior to New London.

Waters also has more than 20 years of experience as a fire service instructor. He is an adjunct instructor and program planner for the Connecticut Fire Academy. He is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program and has a Master of Science degree in executive fire service leadership.

Waters' son Conrad, 18, and daughter, Marissa, 17, pinned on his new badge. His older son, Devon, 21, is a U.S. Army combat medic at Fort Drum in New York.

“I’m very fortunate, I’ve always had a family that is very supportive of me,” Waters said.

“I was very honored to work there. I had a great career,” Waters said of New London, “and I’m looking forward to a great career here. I feel that this is a wonderful opportunity. I don’t take it lightly. I look forward to working with everyone in the Norwich Fire Department and certainly the chief and the command staff.”

Griffin, too, thanked family members for their support, including his parents, wife, Morgan, and young children, Caitlyn, 8, and Ryan, 5. The two children presented their father’s new badge to Griffin’s father, Kevin Griffin, the retired fire chief in the Clinton Fire Department in New York. The uniformed elder Griffin pinned the badge on his son, and the two exchanged salutes and a hug.

Adam Griffin served six years in the U.S. Coast Guard, serving as a boatswain’s mate, responsible for planning and conducting search and rescue and maritime law enforcement. In the Norwich Fire Department, he served on the union’s health and safety committee. Montoya said he was an instrumental member of the development team that obtained grants to purchase the new Marine-1 fire and rescue boat.

Griffin thanked Montoya for the leadership opportunity. He thanked the department’s officers and fellow firefighters, especially those in Platoon 2 for “picking up the slack” for him as he studied for the promotion. And he thanked his wife and children also for putting up with his long hours of preparation for the promotion but said the best part of his workday is returning home to “two giant hugs waiting for me at the door.”

Griffin reflected on his childhood visits to his father’s fire department. As he grew up, he said he noticed how all the firefighters showed such respect for his dad.

“With this promotion comes a new responsibility,” Griffin said, “responsibility I have to all of us who share the title of firefighters. I promise to have your back, push you to do your best and to keep you safe. This job truly is a team effort, and I wouldn’t want to be on any other team but this one.”

c.bessette@theday.com

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