The Cundy’s Harbor Volunteer Fire Department gathered to celebrate Rescue Capt. Rayford “Ray” Greene, who has resigned after 11 years of service, with a party at Holbrook’s Lobster Grille on June 16.
When he joined the department, Greene had made his career in law enforcement. He worked in New Jersey, New Hampshire and Massachusetts before moving to Maine for a job as a U.S. Department of Defense police officer at the Brunswick Naval Air Station.
He began volunteering in Cundy’s Harbor after paramedics assisted him with a medical situation at 3 a.m. Expecting a bill and discovering he would not receive one, he decided to offer his time instead.
“I figured, if they’re not going to charge me, at least I’m going to give them some of my time. I didn’t know it was going to be 11 years,” Greene said. He joined as a firefighter, then became a paramedic.
Six years ago, Greene became a full-time paramedic with Northeast Mobile Health Services, growing his skills and experience in emergency medical services.
Pete Melroy, a driver with the Cundy’s Harbor Volunteer Fire Department who worked with Greene for three years, reflected on his colleague’s humor and tact when interacting with patients.
“Probably the thing that impresses me most about Ray is his ability to use humor as a way to disarm the patient and make them feel more at ease,” Melroy said. “You can imagine you’re in an ambulance, you called the ambulance, it’s very stressful. But he laughs and it’s just infectious.”
Greene now lives in Florida, where he moved in search of warmer weather for his health. He will work as a paramedic in Largo.
“I’m definitely going to miss being down there,” Greene said of Cundy’s Harbor. “I got used to so many people out there and people have gotten used to seeing me around, knowing that I’m the town medic out there. I’m definitely going to miss people there.”
The department will miss Greene too. Ben Wallace, fire and rescue chief for both the Cundy’s Harbor Volunteer Fire Department and the Orr’s and Bailey Islands Fire Department, said Greene has been “a pretty important member of our roster for a long time.”
“We’re going to miss him, that’s for sure,” Wallace said.
Melroy said that Greene’s departure, while a positive change for Greene, leaves a hole in the department that may be challenging to fill, especially with persistent volunteer shortages.
“There really isn’t anybody in line who can replace him at this point,” Melroy said.
Melroy hopes more volunteers will join the department and said that there are many ways people can help.
“The way to look at it is, you’re helping somebody on one of the tougher days of their lives,” Melroy said. “And if you can — just like Ray, with humor — make that a little easier on them, that’s a huge thing.”
Harpswell’s three independent fire departments — the Cundy’s Harbor Volunteer Fire Department, Harpswell Neck Fire and Rescue, and the Orr’s and Bailey Islands Fire Department — are always looking for new volunteers. To learn more, go to harpswellfireandrescue.org.