The baton for the Rockport Firemen’s Band has been passed from the hands of the now retired George Ramsden to Jennifer Fuller, who has been marching in the Fourth of July parade with the crowd-pleasing band for the past 30 years.
Ramsden was recognized by town and state officials at the Board of Selectmen meeting when he was presented with citations, and lauded for his community-building spirit and dedication as the band leader for the past 50 years.
Ramsden spent 44 years in the Rockport Public Schools as a teacher, coach, guidance counselor and director of guidance, the post from which he retired. But his town involvement goes beyond the work with the schools and the band.
“You only come across a person like George Ramsden once in a lifetime. His commitment is total,” said Paul Murphy, the selectmen’s vice chairman. “George has touched, cared about, influenced and improved many lives over the years here in Rockport and beyond. He has always stretched far beyond his job description in any undertaking he has tackled. He is one in a million and we truly are lucky to call him one of our own.”
Murphy described how the crowds would enthusiastically cheer as Ramsden passed by, often waving to get his attention to express their appreciation.
“It is what makes small-town, old-fashioned New England Fourth of July celebration a scene out a Norman Rockwell painting,” he said. “I have watched the parade at the end of Pleasant Street for years.
“And truthfully you could hear and feel the excitement when George and the band under his direction turned the corner and started heading our way,” he said. “With his signature red plunger, his tattered red nightshirt and firemen’s helmet and boots, he would lead the band to the delight of hundreds of onlookers.”