Shift Three will be missing a familiar face next week when the four firefighters report for duty at Chelsea Area Fire Authority (CAFA).
After almost three years as a full-time Chelsea firefighter, A.J. Ellwein won’t be among their ranks.
Instead, he’ll be starting a new job with the Pittsfield Fire Department.
“He’s been a great attribute to the department and we’re sorry to see him go,” said Fire Capt. Chris Smyth.
Described by the guys on his shift as “a good firefighter who knows his stuff,” Ellwein is credited for “making everyone around him better,” said Fire Lt. Scott Basar.
Chelsea Fire Chief Jim Payeur said Ellwein arrived at CAFA as a paid-on-call firefighter and worked extremely hard at any job he was given.
“The things that stand out about A.J.,” Payeur said, “are his work ethic and his love for the fire service.”
No job was beneath him, fellow firefighters said.
“You can give him any task or duty to do and he never complains; he’s a very hardworker,” Payeur said, adding, “He’ll be working over there with my son.”
Although the guys on his shift are sorry to see him leave, “at the same time, we support him in his new endeavor,” said firefighter Ian Ballard.
In fact, Smyth said, “I’d like to have four more of him.”
Ellwein, who is getting married in May, said many of his fellow Chelsea firefighters will be at the wedding.
“It’s been great here; a life-changing experience,” he said of his time in the firehouse on Middle Street.
He said he’s better trained and learned a lot from the veterans in the department.
“I really appreciate the opportunity I was given,” Ellwein said, “And I’d like to think that my time here was helpful.”