Rye FD Captain John McDwyer has retired after 31.5 years of service to the City of Rye. McDwyer was originally hired in July of 1992 and was raised to the rank of Captain during a City Hall ceremony on August 31, 2021. His last day of service was this past Friday.
“It was a pleasure to serve the community I grew up in,” McDwyer told MyRye.com on Sunday as he was traveling west on Interstate 80 for his annual hunting trip in Missouri. “And it was even a greater pleasure to expand on the fire department’s capabilities and have the privilege to be a leader for the men and women in the Rye fire department.”
McDwyer grew up on the corner of Halsted and Dearborn near the beach, and graduated Rye High School in 1984. In the last few years, McDwyer worked on the ongoing transition of the FD to a career department from its volunteer history bringing it into compliance with numerous federal standards.
“We would not have been able to do any of that without the support of the city council, the mayor, the city manager’s office, the Commissioner,” said McDwyer. “And then on the opposite side, if the staff didn’t support me, on that side, none of this would have happened.”
“John had a very lengthy and distinguished career with the city and was a key person as we transitioned from a volunteer department to a career led department,” said Public Safety Commissioner Mike Kopy. “John put countless hours into organizing the department. It’s gonna be a tremendous loss for the city. I’m hopeful to find a way to have the captain continue to provide us some support through this transition.”
“He had a good career, a lot of accomplishments here at the department in the last few years,” said Rye Professional Firefighters Local 2029 President Ricky Colasacco.
The timeline is open as far as when the City will name a replacement for McDwyer, but the Commissioner will be discussing the matter with the civil service commission this week. Until then, Kopy will assume the responsibilities of captain as necessary. The City has approval from the commission for other FD staffing and is deciding if and when those hires will be made as part of its multi year planning.
See the 2021 MyRye.com profile on McDwyer.