BANGOR – Firefighter Sherman Mason wears many hats. He enjoys scuba diving, fishing, cooking and is a friend to many.
“Sherm is always one of those guys you can always count on, good mentor, somebody that can be looked up to. He is a go-to guy,” said Bangor fire Capt. Brian Higgs.
He is hanging up this helmet one last time. After 32 years, Mason is retiring from the Bangor Fire Department.
“It’s kind of a scary thing when you first start to think about it,” Mason said. “It’s going to be a nice change I think.”
Right out of high school, Mason began his career in 1977 in Levant as a junior firefighter. He spent four years in the military and held other jobs.
“That’s kind of a funny thing too because a guy asked me, ‘If you love firefighting so much why are you doing this? Why are you changing tires or whatever?” Mason explained.
“Well I don’t have an answer so then they had an opening so I applied for it and got it,” he said.
That’s when his career as a Bangor firefighter took off.
Mason said over the years the career has brought a lot of ups and downs. From visiting classrooms and seeing the excited look on children’s faces when they drive by to the high stress the job brings.
Through it all, there is one thing he will miss most of all.
“The guys. You know, because we’re a big family,” Mason said. “Every now and then we do get a little carried away and do pranks.”
Higgs added, “When you have somebody that has 32 years or 30 plus years you’re losing a valuable asset to the fire department.”
But Higgs said they never really leave.
“They still come back,” he said, laughing. “They come back for the coffee and the camaraderie.”
Mason said he may work part-time as a paramedic but he hasn’t planned his retirement just yet.
For now, he’s leaving the cold Maine weather and taking a trip to Florida.