JAY — Veteran firefighter Mike Booker has accepted an offer to become fire chief, pending approval by the Board of Selectmen at a meeting Jan. 12.

Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere offered Booker the position in late December.

The 33-year-old Jay resident is assistant chief and has been acting chief for nearly a year.

Late Chief Larry White Sr. handed the reins of the Fire Rescue Department to Booker in early 2014 when White went on medical leave to battle pancreatic cancer. White lost his fight Oct. 5.

Booker “took on the responsibilities during a difficult time, and I believe he will be able to effectively lead the department in the future,” LaFreniere said Monday.

He has been working with the officers of the Fire Rescue Department as well as two members of the board and LaFreniere on updating the bylaws and determining the best path forward for the department, she said.

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“I joined the department when I was 14 years old,” Booker said Monday.

He has been with the department 19 years, including four years as a junior firefighter. He joined because his best friend told him it was fun.

He likes helping people and giving back to the community, he said.

Firefighters never know what the emergency call will be, but it is different every time, he said.

Booker grew up in Jay and graduated from Jay High School in 2000. He went to work for Howie’s Welding and Fabrication in North Jay for roughly 13 years and then worked at Otis Ventures LLC in Jay until about a year ago.

He works per diem for the Farmington Fire Rescue Department and part time for the Jay Police Department.

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He served as captain of the Jay Fire Rescue Department for roughly four years and was promoted by White in 2010 as assistant chief.

Booker said his style is to lead by example.

His background includes Firefighter I and II training, as well as a hazardous materials technician and a medical first responder.

“I’m just looking forward to moving the Fire Department forward and into the future with a great staff of men and women,” he said. “We’ve got a dedicated, hard-working staff. I have big shoes to fill after working under the leadership of Chief White. He was a good friend and mentor.”

If selectmen appoint Booker, he will be paid $4,250 through June 30, the end of the 2014-15 fiscal year, LaFreniere said. White was paid $8,500, so he will be paid for the remaining six months at that rate.

“We are working on the Fire Department bylaws and evaluating pay scales and stipends as part of the review,” she said. “Based on what is determined, his rate of pay will be set for next year.”

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