Richard Spofford recognized for firefighting dedication
Former Boothbay Fire Chief Richard Spofford left the Lincoln County Fire Chiefs Association meeting Aug. 16 with a little lighter heart and heavier arms than he came in with. Spofford was recognized twice for his longtime service to the community, winning both the Chief “Bob” Maxcy 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award and the Association’s President’s Award, with standing applause.
Spofford said he was surprised at the two awards. He accepted the first with a smile and, by the second, a shake of his head and some humble disbelief.
"I wasn't expecting anything,” he said. “I feel great, but I've got a great group behind me. It's not just me, it's the whole group. Everyone works together, which is great. Lincoln County is great, we all work together well."
Edgecomb Fire Chief Roy Potter, association president, said there were many people in the room who qualified for the president’s award but only one came immediately to mind.
“Years ago, when I took over as chief of the Edgecomb Fire Department, this individual was my sounding board,” he said as he presented the award. “I could call him and get his advice on just about anything, not always fire. This individual also has been quietly a member of just about every team Lincoln County has come up with … he has always led by example with his calm demeanor, no matter what the situation.”
The lifetime achievement award recognizes a retired chief who has served for over 25 years, for their dedication to fire service. Spofford was nominated by current Boothbay Fire Chief David Pratt, officers of the fire department, Town Manager Dan Bryer and the board of selectmen.
“For the majority of the force, Dickie was the only chief they’ve ever known,” said Pratt. “He was an awesome mentor and very progressive for the people. He would teach them whatever they needed to know, for firefighters and public education. He was very much on teaching about fire in all directions, wherever that needed to be.”
During the award announcement, Newcastle Fire Chief Casey Stevens read a long list of Spofford’s service for the Boothbay Fire Department, Lincoln County Fire Chiefs Association, community outreach and state and county leadership. He said Spofford has been a role model for all the members of the Boothbay Fire Department, and his leadership made a difference.
Spofford retired as Boothbay’s fire chief in July after 22 years as chief and almost 45 years with the department. He served during some of the region's most challenging events, including the 2008 Washburn and Doughty fire. Under his leadership, the department emphasized training and started a junior firefighter program, adding volunteers each year.
A Boothbay native, Spofford was inspired at a young age by his father, uncle and family friends, who were all firefighters. He said he loves the community and would not want to live anywhere else. His favorite part of the job has been the people working together to help.
“Anytime you get a chance to help somebody, you can make a difference in somebody's life, you know? It doesn't always work out in your favor, but you give it the best shot you can."
Spofford said he wanted to thank everyone for their support over the years. He said the town and firemen have stood by him 100%, and he appreciates it.
Even after decades of work and semi-retirement, Spofford is not ready to hang up his boots. He is the forest warden for Boothbay, is still involved with the department, and said he will continue as long as his health holds up. It is a good thing because Spofford also won a new pair during a raffle at the meeting, although he joked he may prefer penny loafers at this point.