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With the traditional “firefighter’s last ride” provided by the Fairhaven Fire Department and accompanied by co-workers, Wayne Oliveira, retired from his official duties a few months ago.

“… ever since I was a small boy, I always had a love for the fire service, and, as I got older, it stayed with me, and I just pursued that,” shared Oliveira recently a few days before his retirement. 

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With son, Nick, also a firefighter and paramedic like his Dad

Although he dedicated 40 plus years to the Department, Oliveira has a second sideline which started with a friendship with Michael Padeira, a former ”brother in arms” firefighter/EMT from Dartmouth.

“We were friends in EMT school and when he got out, he decided, because equipment was so expensive, we were going to try to start our own local company,” he explained. 

Wayne Oliveira last ride on the firetruck

“Tragically in 1989, I believe it was, he passed away and I had to make the decision whether or not to keep the company or just fold it up,” he said with a faraway look.  “I decided, in honor of him and our friendship, I would just keep it going as ‘Mike and Wayne’s’, and so that’s how I got into it,” he offered with a sad smile.  

As the interview progressed, the “love and dedication” was very apparent.  “I always … I liked every aspect about it,” shared Oliveira, clearly a people person who thrives in the stressful world of a first responder. 

“When someone is in distress and you go there, and you can make them feel better; or you get them to the hospital or made them feel better after they called you–that was kind of rewarding,” he added without hesitating.

with his 3 grandchildren in the back of the firetruck that took him home

Oliveira identifies himself as a second-generation Portuguese-American, grandson of immigrants from the Island of St. Michael, Azores. 

Even though he does not speak Portuguese, his identification and pride to belong to the Portuguese culture is important for him.  “… but I considered learning [the language]several times during my paramedic career.

Living and working in a small community of 13+ thousand residents such as Fairhaven, first responders have a greater probability of answering emergency calls from relatives and friends. 

 At the uniform store he owns

“The one instance that sticks in my mind is my cousin, who lived on Sconticut Neck Road,” commented Oliveira about a non-responsive call.

  “And when we got there she was in cardiac arrest,” said the paramedic.  “She later died, and it was difficult because I had to go back to the house with the police to tell my cousin, my male cousin, that his wife had passed away,” he remembered that to be a difficult moment.

His retirement does have a significant meaning, because there is another Oliveira paramedic on-duty:  Nicholas Oliveira.  “We did many ambulance calls together, and we used to joke with the patients that they had the Oliveira team working on them,” joked the proud Dad.  “And then my daughter, the older of the two, she is a nurse at Tobey Hospital in the ER,” shared Oliveira making the point that the EMS gene runs in the family.


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His last day on-duty was made extra special with his children and grandkids assisting in the “escorting” home. 

The three grandchildren climbed in the back seat of the ladder truck where Oliveira rode “shotgun” accompanied by a tanker truck, a rescue squad, and two auxiliary vehicles, all sounding the sirens and with the lights on. 

The chief’s vehicle lead the way to the ceremonial “last ride home” under the pouring rain, and no one seemed to care about the inclement weather—firefighter/EMT Wayne Oliveira was being honored for his 4+ decades of service to the Fairhaven Fire Department.

Artigo em Português

UMA VIDA DE DEDICAÇÃO

Com a tradicional “última viagem do bombeiro” fornecida pelo Departamento de Bombeiros de Fairhaven e acompanhado por colegas, Wayne Oliveira, aposentou-se oficialmente há vários meses.

“… desde pequenino, eu sempre time um amor especial pelos bombeiros, e, ao crescer, isso ficou comigo, e seguir esse rumo,” partilhou Oliveira recentemente dias antes de se aposentar. 

His last ride on the firetruck

Mesmo tendo dedicado mais de 40 anos ao Departamento, Oliveira tem outra carreira que iniciou devido à sua amizade com Michael Padeira, um antigo ”irmão de carreira” bombeiro/EMT de Dartmouth.

“Ficámos amigos na escola para EMT e quando ele saiu, decidiu isso, porque o equipamento era tão caro, e nós íamos tentar estabelecer a nossa companhia local,” explicou ele. 

“Tragicamente em 1989, acho que foi nesse ano, ele faleceu e eu tive que fazer a decisão se ia ou não manter a loja ou encerrar as portas,” disse ele com um olhar longínquo. 

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“E decidi, em honra do meu amigo e da nossa amizade, que ia continuar com a loja ‘Mike and Wayne’s’, e foi assim que eu cá cheguei,” ofereceu ele com um sorriso triste.  

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Durante a entrevista, “o amor e dedicação” era aparente.  “Eu sempre … eu gostei de todos os aspetos do trabalho,” partilhou Oliveira, claramente alguém que gosta de trabalhar em situações de grande stress como ser bombeiro. 

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“Quando alguém está sofrendo e vamos lá, podemos aliviar o sofrimento; ou leva-los ao hospital ou faze-los mais confortáveis depois da chamada inicial—isso é algo que gratificante,” adicionou ele sem hesitar.

Oliveira identifica-se como Luso-Americano de segunda geração, neto de emigrantes da Ilha de São Miguel, nos Açores. 

Mesmo não dominando Português, ele identifica-se e tem orgulho da cultura Portuguesa com muita importância para ele, “… mas considerei aprender [o idioma]várias vezes durante a minha carreira de paramédico.

Viver e trabalhar numa comunidade pequena de 13+ mil habitantes como Fairhaven, polícias e bombeiros têm uma grande probabilidade de responder a chamadas de emergência vindo de familiares e amigos. 

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“Há um exemplo que recordo com uma prima minha, ele vivia no Sconticut Neck Road,” comentou Oliveira sobre essa chamada triste.  “E quando lá cheguei ela tinha sofrido um ataque cardíaco,” disse o paramédico. 

“Ela faleceu pouco depois, e foi difícil porque tive que regressar à residência com a polícia e dizer ao meu primo, que a esposa tinha falecido,” lembra-se ele desse momento muito difícil.

A sua reforma tem outro sentido significante, porque há outro paramédico Oliveira de serviço:  Nicholas Oliveira.  “Fizemos muitas chamadas de ambulância juntos, e por vezes gracejámos com os pacientes que a equipa Oliveira estava a tratar deles,” disse o Pai orgulhoso. 

“E depois a minha filha, a mais velha dos dois, ela é enfermeira no Hospital Tobey na Sala de Emergência,” partilhou Oliveira apontando que o gene de paramédico é herdado.


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O seu último dia de serviço foi tornado extra especial com os filhos e netos assistindo na “escolta” a casa. 

Os três netos subiram para o banco de trás do camião de escadas de bombeiros onde Oliveira se tinha posicionado ao lado do condutor sendo acompanhado por um camião tanque, o camião de pronto socorro, e dois veículos auxiliares, todos com sirenes e luzes. 

O veículo do chefe de bombeiros liderou a escolta cerimonial sob chuva torrencial, e ninguém se importou do tempo inclemente—o bombeiro/EMT Wayne Oliveira era o recipiente de honras pelas suas 4+ décadas de serviço ao Departamento de Bombeiros de Fairhaven.

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