By Chadwick Dolgos
After 40 years as a volunteer firefighter in Stowe, Chief David Gallagher has retired from his role as chief.
Gallagher’s replacement will be his second in command for the past four years, Matt Chapman. Stowe Commissioners unanimously approved the change in May.
“It was my 40th anniversary [with the department] and I retired,” Gallagher said, declining to discuss his reasons further.
Gallagher, 54, joined the former Fleming Park department as a junior volunteer firefighter when he was 14, rising to the rank of chief in 1999.
Gallagher was instrumental in merging Fleming Park with the former West Park company, and has led the consolidated Stowe Township Volunteer Fire Department since its 2012 inception.
While he’s stepping down from his leadership role, Gallagher still plans to be active in the department, said Chapman.
“He’ll stay around and help however he can and make the department better for the future,” said Chapman, a lifelong resident of Stowe Township. Chapman will have been a firefighter for 27 years come this June.
During his tenure, he has received vehicle rescue, swift water, and rapid intervention training and certification. Chapman said he learned many valuable lessons fighting fires under the former chief’s supervision.
“First and foremost, I learned how to become a great officer,” Chapman said. “He helped me a lot from being an officer, to a lieutenant, all the way to being his chief.”
Stepping into his new role, Chapman plans to maintain the foundation Gallagher set while also developing closer connections with surrounding departments.
“David set us up pretty good to where we’re a tight knit group of guys and well-established in the area,” he said. “My goal is to work closely with the departments around us.”
Chapman’s new second in command will be David’s brother, James Gallagher, who also joined the service as a junior volunteer firefighter 43 years ago at the age of 14.