For nearly a half-century, James Vieira has epitomized what being a true firefighter is all about.
For nearly a half-century, James Vieira has epitomized what being a true firefighter is all about. Aside from his devoted wife, Diane, and loving family, Jimmy’s love for the Bristol Fire Dept. and all that it represents, was unequalled.
Last Saturday, family members and friends, including a good portion of the fire department membership, gathered at the local VFW Hall on Hope Street to pay tribute to this native son.
Following in the footsteps of his late father, Manny Vieira, Jimmy immediately developed a sense of pride and passion for the local fire department. Right from the get-go, Jimmy was excited to join a group of outstanding individuals whose sole purpose was to protect the town and all that it represents with pride and commitment.
For the record, Jim never looked back once he became a member of the Bristol Fire Dept.
He served 49 years on the department, and rose through the ranks at the Hydes Station, joining the department on Sept. 3, 1975. He was hired as a training and safety instructor in January, 2001, and retired as the first career Deputy Chief of Training & Safety. He’s also a life member of rescue and its training officer, and a full-time Battalion Chief and Deputy Chief.
Said Fire Chief Michael A. DeMello, “Fortunately, he’s still hanging around working on Engine 10, but the office won't be the same. Jim was a true professional in everything he did and accomplished. He was a true credit to the Bristol Fire Dept.”
Retired Fire Chief Bob Martin was a big supporter of Jim Vieira and all he brought to the table during his long career in the fire department.
“As everyone has heard and seen, Jim has been and still is totally dedicated to the Bristol Fire Department and the Town of Bristol,” said Chief Martin. “During the time when I was unavailable due to illness, Battalion Chief Vieira stepped in and oversaw all day to day operations in a flawless manner. This effort was greatly appreciated by me as well as the Department.”
He continued, “I always recall Jim’s caring and love for everyone’s pets. He obtained grant funds to purchase and train personnel how to use oxygen masks for pets that were rescued from fire scenes. This is an example of his going above and beyond being a firefighter.”
“Jimmy is a wealth of knowledge and well-revered in the town and state,” added Lt. Rick Giannini. “I’ve known Jim since September of 1998 and he always enjoyed working with and teaching those who are coming up through the ranks.”
Saturday night’s get-together at the VFW attracted many of Jim’s longtime friends and colleagues, some of which were happy to take part in a brief “roast.” Jimmy was also the type of guy who loved to make fun and tease those who were in his company. There was never a dull moment when he was around.
By night’s end, Jim had received a number of gifts and congratulatory greeting cards, which made him smile from ear-to-ear.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for their support and kindness throughout my life as a member of the greatest fire department in the world,” he beamed. “This is a night I’ll never forget.”
Although he now sticks around the house now helping his adoring wife, Diane, you know that deep down inside he’d loved to try something maybe a little more challenging. Only time will tell. But one thing is pretty much guaranteed — it’s a better than even bet that in his retirement, Jim Vieira will still have his ear glued to his scanner when a fire alarm goes off.