BURRILLVILLE – He’s a well-known police dispatcher, chaplain, emergency management director and firefighter, who just recently retired from his latest position after more than 50 years of service to the Burrillville community.
And now, Oakland Mapleville Fire Department Deputy-Chief Emeritus Richard J. Lapierre is the recipient of the Rhode Island State Firefighters League Lifetime Achievement Award.
Given to, “an individual whose outstanding achievements in the fire service and community provides examples of exemplary performance,” the award goes annually to one firefighter nominated by his or her peers. Lapierre is the 4th firefighter from Burrillville to receive the RISFL award.
Lapierre, who earned a bachelor’s degree in finance/insurance from the University of Rhode Island, and a master’s in theology from Providence College, joined OMFD in 1966, serving as deputy chief. During his tenure, he was licensed as an Emergency Medical Technician, Assistant Deputy State Fire Marshal, and EMT Instructor before retiring from that department in 1999.
He also served as a resident firefighter for the Kingston Fire Department at URI from 1967- 1971, and later at the Narragansett Fire Department, from 1972-1974.
Lapierre took a job as director of EMS Services at Brown University in 1994, a role he held until 2007. He began serving as a dispatcher with the Burrillville Police Department in 1996, recently retiring after some 25 years.
He also authored two textbooks for pre-hospital emergency medicine.
The busy longtime emergency worker serves as a Deacon at Our Lady of Good Help parish in Burrillville, and is also the chaplain of the Burrillville Police Department and the Northern Rhode Island Firefighters League.
Friends, family and 75 firefighters recently gathered at the Foster Country Club to honor Lapierre and celebrate the prestigious award.
Past recipients of RISFL’s Lifetime Achievement Award hailing from Burrillville include the late OMFD Chief Edward Bertholic in 2007; former OMFD Chief Michael Cosetta in 2013; and former Harrisville and current Pascoag Fire Chief Mark St. Pierre, who currently serves as the organization’s vice president, in 2018.