The appointment of Robert Better Jr. as Chelsea Fire Chief ensures that the CFD will remain one of the best fire departments in the state of Massachusetts. Heading up a fire department that faced the burning down of the city twice in the 20th Century is a huge responsibility and a great honor.
Chief Robert Better is the right man for the job.
His entire life has been an homage to the Chelsea Fire Department, its beliefs, its principles, and its professionalism. Better knows the department and has worked at every level, every function the department performs during a long career with it.
Better is descended from old Chelsea stock who came here at the turn of the last century and who settled in North Chelsea, which today is Revere.
His entire family experience on both sides for nearly a lifetime is marked by a devotion to firefighting.
His grandfathers on both sides – James Better, Sr. and John J. Rourke – were both Chelsea firefighters for 25 years during the 1930s and 1940s.
His late father Robert Better Sr. was a gem of a man, a lifelong firefighter who died in 1997.
The new chief’s son is following in his father’s footsteps. Robbie Better recently became a member of the CFD.
We know Chief Better for a lifetime. We knew his father. We know his family. We know what Chief Better is made of.
He is an upright guy, a family man. He is someone who has built a good life for himself and who has excelled as a Chelsea firefighter.
Chief Better isn’t a saint. There are those on the CFD who will be wary of him.
They needn’t be.
Chief Better will do the right thing for his men and women. He intuitively knows what needs to be done with the department to keep it modern and to keep it vital.
He is a thoroughly modern man, quick and smart, assertive and with Chief Better the demand will be for loyalty above all – loyalty to the fire department and loyalty to the task at hand.
He wants all his firefighters and command staff to feel what he feels after all his years of service – a real sense of pride serving in the department and a great deal of pride in the city of Chelsea.
We believe the appointment of Robert Better Jr. to be the chief of the Chelsea Fire Department is a great choice made by City Manager Jay Ash.
Better will serve the city well.