Photographs by William Taufic.
Weston Fire and EMS, Weston Historical Society, Westport-Weston United Methodist Church, Weston Historic District Commission
As a teen, Paul Deysenroth joined the Rowayton Fire Department as a volunteer, and his passion for helping others has burned brightly ever since. “I followed in the footsteps of my father, who was a fire chief for Rowayton during World War II,” says the Weston resident. “He taught me that you give back to the town you live in. Seeing a baby born, saving someone who was seriously injured—it’s very rewarding and most of the time people are very appreciative of what we do for them.”
Courage into Action
Deysenroth’s volunteer service spans over six decades. He has been an EMT and firefighter for many years, as well as serving in a leadership role as a fire officer and as chairman and treasurer of the Weston Volunteer Emergency Medical Services (WVEMS).
Elena Moffly comments: “When I joined WVEMS, I met a lot of wonderful people. Paul was one of the first people who came up to me and introduced himself. He is one of the early members of WVEMS—he joined in 1965. He still volunteers, very actively, with both the fire department—mostly as fire police now, and is there on almost every call—and the EMS. Each EMS member must be on duty a minimum of forty hours per month, and he does that plus goes on calls when off-duty—plus, plus, plus …”
Deysenroth was also president of the Historical Society for two terms and recently organized a fire and EMS exhibit. “I maintain the museum in the barn there,” he says. “It’s very rewarding. We have had second-grade classes come in the past, and we show them what Weston was in the 1800s.” Deysenroth is chairman of the Weston Historic District Commission and says, “We work with the town of Weston in trying to protect houses in the district and maintain some semblance of the rural atmosphere of the town.”
He happens to mention a little award he received last year: “I was given the Lifetime Achievement Fire-EMS Award from President Obama. It was the last award of the evening at Weston’s fire and EMS holiday dinner, and I didn’t realize until halfway through that they were talking about me! I received a nice document and letter from Obama and a pin to wear. That was a very great honor.”
Hopes & Dreams
“My hope is that I continue to do the things I’m doing for a number of years,” says Deysenroth, who is eighty-one. “Doing volunteer work keeps me very active. I’m extremely physically fit. I don’t go into burning buildings anymore, but I still respond on calls and do traffic duty. I was out last night at an accident. I want to do it as long as I can.”