Chief 'leaned on' Lynch, Stang for new fire station plans

Cary Ashby • Apr 13, 2018 at 4:00 AM

Norwalk Fire Chief John Soisson said he has a high comfort level working with two firefighters on whom he depends, Capt. Aaron Lynch and Lt. Curt Stang.

“We are kinda on the same line of thinking, even though we don’t always agree,” Soisson said. “What we’ve been able to accomplish wouldn’t be possible without these two guys.”

The Norwalk Lions Club recently named Lynch and Stang the firefighters of the year. The officers in the fire department discuss who to nominate.

“It’s always a tough thing. Everybody does a good job,” Soisson said. “I don’t think anybody had any qualms (about the choice). This is the first time we’ve had two people be firefighter of the year.”

Lynch has been with the fire department for 21 years while Stang has served 27. 

“Curt has been with me on the new (fire) station committee since 2008. Aaron came on board in 2015,” Soisson said. “I never could have dreamed the amount of effort these two have put in — not that I didn’t think that they weren’t capable, but they have gone so far above and beyond.

“They owned the project,” the chief added.

Soisson noted the irony that given their combined time in the department, he, Lynch and Stang likely won’t be in the new station for more than five years total.

“I would have been lost without them. They both have very good skill sets when it comes to construction and some of their backgrounds, which means they can bring some things to the table along with some other committee,” he said.

“Before Curt was a fireman, he worked for Suhr Kitchens and Curt is a darn good finish-carpenter. And Aaron has some construction experience and to have that three-dimensional thinking, that really helps you when you’re trying to decide what you’re doing in a station.

“There are a lot of things we took out of the station that we said we could do ourselves,” Soisson added, referring to various cost-cutting measures. “There were things like that that they brought (up) all the time.”

Most recommendations about the station came from the architect or oversight committee, but Soisson stressed it was Stang and Lynch whom “I leaned on” to answer questions such as “how would it affect us 70 or 80 years down the road and what makes sense and what doesn’t.”

“There (are) hours and hours of conversations and meetings in our office and getting the architect on the phone and things like that” going into this process, Soisson said.

The chief said it’s hard to fathom how many late-night emails he has received over the last several months because of the research on the station that Lynch and Stang did.

“It’s just phenomenal,” the chief added. “On top of it, they’ve both done their jobs as captains and lieutenants to a high level.”

The department has 18 firefighters.

“Everybody gives us a high level of performance, but I think these two — (Lynch and Stang) because of what I ask of them and what they’ve done — need to be recognized,” Soisson said. “I appreciate it.

“I want everybody to know how much we appreciate the Lions Club recognizing them. Every day — day in, day out — our guys go out and do things and see things that are tough. And they know it’s part of their job, but to be recognized is an honor and I couldn’t be prouder of these two guys — and the whole department, as far as that goes.”

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