ANDOVER — It took Methuen Fire Chief Steven Buote 10 minutes to thank the volunteers who have become unheralded heroes whenever tragedy strikes at emergency scenes across the Merrimack Valley.
Buote said he needed all of that time to pay proper tribute to the Trauma Intervention Program of the Merrimack Valley during the group’s 20th Annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet last Thursday night at the Wyndham Boston Andover hotel.
Buote, a 33-year-veteran of the Methuen Fire Department and a member of TIP’s Board of Directors, told the crowd of 166 in the Wyndham ballroom that TIP has become “a vital component of our public safety” since the group’s inception 20 years ago.
“What they do on a daily basis, their effort is tireless and of such importance to the local communities that they serve,” the chief said of the group of 19 volunteers who have undergone hours of special training so they can administer emotional first aid to the survivors of tragic and traumatic events.
“These are people who are doing this over and above their jobs and their private lives, spending an incredible amount of time, training and researching,” the chief said. “These are people doing this out of the kindness of their hearts.”
Buote himself was one of a dozen people honored on a night dedicated to the TIP volunteers, emergency responders, agencies and private citizens who embrace the TIP mission. The chief was among the emergency responders selected by volunteers for a “Gift of Caring Award.” The award recognized him as “a consistent caller and supporter of TIP services,” his extensive involvement in TIP activities, his financial advocacy for the group and his work on the board of directors.
TIP honored three nurses, three policemen, one fire official, two citizens and three of its volunteers this year — including TIP’s executive director and co-founder, Dr. Jayan M. Landry, who has been with the group as a volunteer and organizer since it began.