BURRILLVILLE – She’s given four decades to the district, rising to the rank of captain, and has been known for supporting others along the way.
Sharon Jenks retired last week from the Pascoag Fire Department, and staff at the district surprised the longtime member with fit sendoff as she ended her final shift.
Jenks, who first served with the Burrillville Ambulance Corps. starting in 1980, joined the village fire department in 1989. She became one of the first two career Emergency Medical Technicians hired by Pascoag Fire Department, starting the job as a firefighter/EMT, before she was promoted to lieutenant, and eventually, captain.
“For most of us on the department, Sharon has simply always been there In Rhode Island,” noted a write up on her departure. “Many of our members were not even born when Sharon joined our department.”
A post on social media pointed out that 14,576 individuals have become EMTs between when Jenks first started her career and the district’s newest EMT got her license. Her career in public safety included 11,867 days of service to Pascoag Fire Department, and 15,804 days of EMS service to the town of Burrillville.
Known for being tough but sweet, Jenks, it noted, has long been the person other staff members go to talk to after a major incident.
“Sharon has taken care of both members of the community and the members of our department,” it said.
It was an emotional sendoff on Thursday, Dec. 30 for a district leader who had also shared loss with her fellow firefighters. In 2018, Jenks lost her husband – the late Lt. Richard Jenks – in the line of duty while fighting a fire as a member of the PFD.
“We became even closer as we gathered around to support her and mourn with her,” a release noted.
On Thursday, staff stood outside in front of department headquarters in the center of Pascoag with Burrillville dispatch announcing Jenks retirement over all radios in town, before members honored her with a final salute and presented her with gifts.
The captain walked away from her final shift with tears in her eyes.
“Thank you all so much,” she said.
“Sharon will always be a member of the PFD family,” noted the writeup on her achievements. “We thank Sharon for her years of dedicated service and offer her our sincerest best wishes in her retirement.”