Paul Hardiman was the recipient of the Outstanding Firefighter of the Year award for 2012. He passed away suddenly on 12-12-12.
Hardiman was a Reading resident, but lived in North Reading for many years with his wife Marilyn and children Dan, Scott, Laura, Deborah and Mike. He had been a member of the call department for the North Reading Fire Department since 1973. He was also the president of the North Reading Relief Association. As president, Hardiman was behind the improvement of the firefighter's memorial at Riverside cemetery. The other firefighters are still working on this project with him in mind.
According to Fire Chief William Warnock, Hardiman was chosen overwhelmingly by the Firefighters Union to receive the award.
"His nomination was based on the number of years of service he devoted to the town," Warnock said.
He went on to say that Hardiman's love for the fire department and its members also contributed to his nomination.
"We felt that it would be a good way to honor his life and his dedication to the department and the community," Warnock told Patch.
He was there longer than anybody, Warnock said, and his passing "left a large void in the department." Firefighters called him Mr. Hardiman, Warnock said, as a sign of respect and they thought of him as a father.
"Paul always had a smile on his face when he came to work because he truly loved his job, the North Reading Fire Department and all of its members," Warnock said. "People who work outside our profession do not realize the commitment needed to perform our jobs and I thank Paul for all of his service which totaled almost 40 years. Paul always took the shifts and duties that many people shied away from. He loved being at work and the friendships that developed from it and some of Paul’s closest friends were and are members of this department."
Hardiman's son accepted the award for him at a recent ceremony held at the Hillview Country Club.
"Paul may be gone but he will never be forgotten. Every time we roll out the door we feel his presence and we hope that we can continue to live up to the standards that he has instilled in every one of us at the fire station," Warnock said.