In 1961, Buzzy Metayer was issued badge No. 64 for the Lewiston Fire Department and headed for his first official day on duty at the Main Street substation. Last week, 50 years later, his son Shawn left that same station after his last official day before retiring the badge his father so proudly passed on to him. 

“I guess it was just in my blood” Shawn said. “When I was a kid playing in the neighborhood and we heard the trucks going someplace, I would stop what we were doing and run out to the street and wave to them. I knew then that’s what I wanted to be.” 

Both father and son worked hard to learn every aspect of the job and more. In addition to being a firefighter, Buzzy was an emergency medical technician and Shawn was certified as a paramedic.

“Not only do we help strangers on the job, but we are a very close-knit community in the Fire Department. We are all friends and many of us hang out together on our days off, hunting, fishing, helping on projects and looking out for one another.”

When Shawn was in a horrific motorcycle accident in 2005 and out of work for more than a year, the firefighter family kicked into high gear.

“I can’t thank you enough for all the help and support you all gave me and my family after my accident,” Shawn said with a tear in his eye in the packed community room at Central Station on Friday afternoon during a traditional cake and ice cream party for retiring firefighters. 

“They were unbelievable, donating their sick days to me after I used up all of mine while recuperating. I never could have made it without them. They did so much for me and my family, it really says a lot about these guys.” 

During the past few years, Shawn has been studying and is now certified as a nurse anesthetist and plans to begin a second career at a local hospital. 

Since retirement, Buzzy has kept busy. “I take pride in our country and want people to never forget all those who have served and are still in harms way, ” he said. He quietly goes about it with little fanfare.

He paints flag poles and places flags in conspicuous places, among other activities, and longs to promote patriotism. His pickup truck with a camper painted with the American flag and a giant eagle riding on top can be seen driving throughout the Twin Cities.

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