Alumnus to become new Rescue chief

Keating '17 to be Rescue chief as Lindquist '05 moves on

August 5, 2019
Mark Tarnacki
Staff Writer
Rescue leaders

Leslie Lindquist ’05, left, and John Keating ’17 at Saint Michael’s Fire and Rescue headquarters recently.

John Keating ’17, a leader with Saint Michael’s Fire and Rescue since his relatively recent student days, has been selected for the position of Rescue Chief for the Department to fill the vacancy created when Chief Leslie Lindquist ’05 announced she would be leaving Saint Michael’s College Fire and Rescue full-time to accept a new position in the Burlington area.

Lindquist “will continue her excellent service to the department and the community as an alumni member,” said a statement from the SMFR Board about the transition.

Keating brings experience from his student membership service and as a full-time member of Colchester Rescue as well as service as a member of the Milton Rescue Squad.  He will transition to his new role in the Department on August 19 and is expected to complete his Paramedic Training in early 2020.  Keating has been an active alumni member of the department since graduation “and is well-versed in the department goal of maintaining a student experience while providing the best possible public safety services to the greater community,” according to the board statement.

Lindquist, a deeply respected and visible fixture in the Saint Michael’s Fire and Rescue community since her student days, had nothing but positive things to say of her Saint Michael’s experiences. In an email to the campus community, she explained why she recently submitted her formal letter of resignation to the board, effective in early August. “I was not looking for a new job, but was approached by the UVM Medical Center, to be the supervisor for the Critical Care Transport Team, Healthnet,” she said. “I am not going far, literally just down Lime Kiln Road to their base near the airport.”

“It has been one of the greatest joys of my life to serve as the Rescue Chief.  I struggled with this decision but ultimately decided that it is an amazing opportunity for my own career growth,” Lindquist said. “I plan to remain an active alumni member and will help with the transition, in the months following my departure. Fire and Rescue is my family and it will not be easy to leave. I am beyond proud of all that the organization has accomplished in the past six years.”

Tom Powers, ’70, chair of the Fire and Rescue Board of Directors, wrote a letter to SMFR personnel in recent days announcing Keating’s hiring as the next Rescue Chief. Lindquist said Keating joined Fire and Rescue as a freshman and served as a student officer for both his junior and senior years.  He is a native of Wilmington MA.

Lindquist wrote to the SMFR Board of Directors earlier this year, “When I joined Rescue as a first-year in 2001, I never imagined I would one day help lead the organization.  Leaving is certainly bittersweet and harder than I ever imagined.  I don’t think I will ever match the satisfaction that comes with watching an 18-year-old develop and mature into the outstanding EMS providers that we graduate each May.”

Lindquist said she would be making the rounds in the community with Keating soon to make proper introductions with key constituents. “Until then, please continue to reach out to myself or my colleague Erik Haversang, if you have a question related to Fire and Rescue. I will regularly be checking email and returning messages.  My Saint Michael’s account will work for the foreseeable future and I plan to remain an active alumni member with Fire and Rescue,” she said in her email to the community. “I hope to see many of you during the week of 8/19, but if I don’t please know you have all played a role in the continued success of Fire and Rescue. I am grateful to have worked with such amazing colleagues over the past six years.  I have been volunteering or working for Fire and Rescue, since I arrived on campus …  It has been one of the greatest joys of my life to work at St. Mike’s and help Fire and Rescue continue to grow and serve our community.

According to a 2016 profile of Lindquist in the 2016 Saint Michael’s College Magazine, after graduating from Saint Michael’s and four years on the Rescue Squad Lindquist earned her Master’s of Health Sciences from George Washington University and her paramedic license.

But she had fallen in love with Vermont, the piece states, and so came back to SMFR, first as assistant chief of Rescue, then promoted to chief. She told the magazine that she loves the connection she has with the community, especially with individual patients: “the elderly gentleman who sang in the ambulance all the way to the hospital. Two newborns she brought into the world. Hands she has held, trying to be honest with the patient as death creeps in. And the people she has had to tell that a loved one has died. ‘We try to prevent death,’ she says. ‘But the truth is that life is short.’ She warns her trainees: ‘Don’t ever forget to have fun.’”

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