-By Seth Daniel
Revere firefighter Ronnie Cook never intended to be a firefighter.
His father had been on the Revere Fire Department, and Cook said he never was very interested in following in his fatherâ€™s footsteps.
Now, 30 years later, Cook, 56, is retiring from that same Fire Department as a deputy chief with a long and distinguished record. In fact, he was once a candidate for Fire Chief and actually scored the highest on the chiefâ€™s exam.
â€œDuring my college years, I got a taste of working and making money,â€ said Cook. â€œI was loading 100 pound bags for the Teamsterâ€™s and I liked the idea of earning money and getting some free exercise. I didnâ€™t want anything to do with the Fire Department. But my father was a retired firefighter and he pushed me to take the exam, and I passed and was offered a spot. I took it and itâ€™s been a wild ride.â€
Cook attended the McKinley School for eight years and went to high school at the old Immaculate Conception School, graduating in 1972.
He attended Essex Tech for two years before taking a position at the Fire Department.
After starting in 1980, Cook made Lieutenant in 1986, and then captain in 1993. He became an acting deputy chief soon after, and then later, a full deputy chief.
He said that the job is still rewarding, but there have been changes.
â€œWe donâ€™t get fires like we used to anymore,â€ he said. â€œAlso, the schedule has completely changed.â€
Cook said that he could have stayed on two more years, but there was no advantage in doing so. In the end, he agreed to move on and let others climb the ladder.
â€œI had been thinking about it for a few years,â€ he said. â€œThe deciding factor was I went to see the mayor. I asked him if he would make any promotions if I left, and he said he would. By me retiring, three guys get to move up and I did what guys did for me when I came up the ranks.â€
Cook, who now lives in Lynn, said he would be spending more time with his wife, Judy, and his granddaughter, Madison.
Likewise, he will spend a little more time at his home in Florida.
â€œI donâ€™t have any set plans now, but Iâ€™ll be doing something else,â€ he said.