Peterborough Fire Chief Ed Walker was recognized as a New Hampshire Scholars Champion during a breakfast ceremony at the Manchester Country Club on December 6, 2017.
The “Breakfast of Champions: Celebrating School Business Partnership” event was sponsored by the New Hampshire Department of Education, Unitil, BAE Systems, and NH Learning Initiative. It brought together businesses, educators, and legislators to discuss emerging trends in workforce development.
The keynote address was given by the Honorable John Lynch, former Governor of New Hampshire. Awards were presented by Dr. Patty Lynott, President, Southern New Hampshire University, and Tom Raffio, President/CEO, Northeast Delta Dental.
Awards were presented to community leaders who exemplify outstanding business education partnerships and have a decisive impact on student success. Chief Walker was recognized for his commitment to advancing partnerships dedicated to student success through his contributions to the new Fire Academy Program at ConVal, his work with the Substance Abuse Task Force, Youth Mental Health First Aid, and the Peterborough Rotary Club.
Many Career and Technical Centers in New Hampshire offer Fire Sciences programs to help communities prepare young people to enter this field. In January 2016, it was announced that the Fire Science program serving students in the ConVal, Conant, Mascenic, Milford and Wilton-Lyndeborough communities would no longer be offered. When the program was defunded, the opportunity to train young men and women prior to joining departments as firefighters and emergency medical responders was lost, adding to the already critical shortage of trained firefighters and emergency medical service personnel in our area. After learning about the cancellation of the Mascenic Fire Science program, Chief Walker wasted no time in contacting ConVal regarding the possibility of Region 14 and the ConVal School District offering a new Fire Science program.
Walker was instrumental in helping bring the Fire Science program to Peterborough. He reached out to the Monadnock Area Fire Chiefs’ Association to get their support, presented to the ConVal School Board, and met with the Peterborough Select Board to approve a donation of equipment to the program. Most recently, Ed worked with representatives from Mount Wachusett Community College and arranged an articulation agreement with their Fire Science Technology program. This means that Region 14 ATC Fire Science students can now earn college credit for their coursework.
Chief Walker is also a member of the ConVal Substance Abuse Task Force. This group consists of key stakeholders within the school district and greater Monadnock community interested in supporting young people with good behavior choices around substance use. This group is focused on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), building awareness on the connection to substance use, the impact on parents and children in our community, and taking action to support these children as they move toward adulthood. Chief Walker is very involved with the group since he joined two years ago and provides a valuable perspective on the dangers of substance use. He has attended many community awareness programs designed to educate the community. He has also become a trainer for Mental Health First Aid and has provided many school and community members with this valuable training and tools to use with students.
Walker’s commitment to students and his professionalism, organization, and follow-through have positively contributed to our school climate. It was largely his efforts that brought Project Crash to ConVal which was one of the most powerful programs we have ever hosted at the high school.
Congratulations, Chief Walker, on this prestigious award!