Richard Joseph Schaefer was born in Boston‚ Massachusetts‚ on June 21‚ 1960‚ to Richard L. and Eleanor M. Schaefer. The family lived in Burlington‚ Massachusetts‚ until they moved to Hopkinton‚ New Hampshire‚ in 1972. After graduating from Hopkinton High School in 1978‚ he joined the Hopkinton Rescue Squad. One year later he joined the organization that would truly define what he would mean to the community that he called home‚ the Hopkinton Fire Department.
Rick was a devoted firefighter/EMT with the Hopkinton Fire Department for 33 years. In 1983‚ he was promoted to lieutenant‚ then in 1988 to captain. In 1991‚ he was further promoted to deputy chief/training officer‚ and in 1999 was promoted to chief and a deputy warden. In 2009‚ he revolutionized the department by becoming the first full-time fire chief. Under Rick’s leadership‚ training standards for the department were a top priority. He worked hard to bring additional full-time firefighters and paramedics into the department‚ providing the town with high quality service.
His professionalism and dedication to the job earned him the title of vice president of the Capital Area Fire Compact. He served as the Hopkinton emergency management director for years. He wrote many grants to provide essential equipment for the fire department and other town buildings. Rick was instrumental in researching‚ designing‚ and purchasing multiple ambulances and trucks for the department.
Chief Schaefer was involved with his community by participating in many programs including the Safety Committee for the Hopkinton School District and the Hopkinton Community Outreach program. He volunteered his time to teach the local students about firefighting and general safety. He was assistant coach to many of his sons’ sports teams.
Rick was married for 31 years to his high school sweetheart‚ Kathy Starkey. They had three children‚ Richard (Ricky)‚ Jessamyn‚ and Joshua. He had two grandchildren‚ Kyleigh Mae and Dreesen Joseph‚ whom he adored. His children were encouraged to believe in their own career paths. His daughter followed in his footsteps as a firefighter/EMT-I for the Town of Hopkinton. He was a family man with a passion for planning family vacations as well as getaways with his wife. His family will always remember their fun-filled vacations with Dad.
Known as a jack of all trades‚ with a heart of gold‚ he was always willing to help anyone at any time. If he didn’t know how to do something he would find someone who did. He was an honest man with high morals and standards and was well respected by all who knew him. He was known for his overwhelming dedication to his family‚ the fire service‚ and his community. Rick’s level of commitment was second to none.