A 19-foot water rescue boat was accepted by the Town Council on Monday in memory of Gerald "Gerry" Leduc, a 25-year veteran of the Tiverton Fire Department.
Inscribed with that very message on the exterior of its stern, Marine 14 will soon sit at its slip at Standish Boatyard ready to serve in future water rescue missions on the Sakonnet River. The vessel, a Lema Rampage, was donated to the fire department by members of the Gerald Leduc Memorial Fund.
Denise DeMedeiros, former girlfriend of Leduc, presented a check for $26,000 to Fire Chief Robert Lloyd during the council meeting for the funds raised over the years to make the boat purchase possible.
“There wasn’t a single resident or private business that said ‘no’ to us,” DeMedeiros said. “We’ve got to thank the community that worked with us weekly.”
Leduc, 52, reportedly died in the line of duty on Aug. 3, 2008, while trying to rescue a man whose boat had overturned in Stafford Pond. Lloyd called that day “one of the darkest” in his career as a firefighter. He was a firefighter and paramedic.
“But now every time we look at that boat, we’ll think of Gerry,” he said. “It’s giving back to the community.”
DeMedeiros, family members and close friends of Leduc started the memorial fund in 2008 shortly after he died. She said they held two fundraisers that helped raised most of the money for the vessel. She said Chief Lloyd sought the services of the University of Rhode Island Foundation Boat Donation and Sales Program, which helped bring Marine 14 (Leduc’s former roll call number on emergency dispatch) to Tiverton.
DeMedeiros, in a phone call on Monday afternoon, said the program accepts charitable boat donations and offers an inventory of vessels on sale.
According to firefighter and paramedic Daniel Murphy, who worked alongside Leduc for many years, the foundation outfitted Marine 14 with lights, sirens, radar, sonar, a global positioning system and a depth finder.
“That was all donated to us,” he said.
Proceeds from the program go toward student scholarships and maritime programming.
“We got it at a very good price," DeMedeiros said. “His memory will live on forever and as long as the boat’s there, we’ll be able to save lives and that’s what Gerry was all about.”