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Dains retires as Concord highway superintendent after 24 years

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By Kellen M. Quigley

After 24 years with the town of Concord highway department, Highway Superintendent Dennis Danis has retired.

“I started in 1995 as a motor equipment operator for a few years and then went into the superintendent’s position,” Dains said during the town board’s Nov. 14 meeting. “Over those 24 years, the progress we’ve made on town-owned roads is because of you as a board funding my department”

Dains said the employees in the highway department have done a phenomenal job. “We’re out there in the worst conditions, day or night,” he said.

Being a highway superintendent isn’t a 9-to-5 job, Danis explained, nor is it a 40 hours a week job. He said it’s seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“For those 24 years, on top of being a superintendent also being the fire chief for 20 of those years, I’d like to thank my wife Dawnmarie for standing beside me all these years and letting me do this, both sides of this,” he said.

Dains recalled joining the fire department because if he needed help, he would want someone to help him. He said this is his 43rd year in the fire department.

“Over the years, Dawnmarie has put up with a lot. Not going to Christmas, not going to Thanksgiving, not going here, not going there,” he said. “I love you very much, and I thank you for standing by me.”

During his time as superintendent, Dains said he’s worked with a lot of town boards and they’ve been great to work with. Even if they don’t agree on everything, he said they make it work.

“The feeling I have is that when we make it work, even if we disagree, the residents are the ones who benefit, on the roads, on their mowing and everything else,” he said.

Dains said he always had a policy that if a resident called him, he would ask if they were home and if he could come out to address the issue. If they weren’t home, he would ask when they would be and go then.

“It might have been after working hours, but I’ll go see them,” he said.

Over the years, Dains said there had been two major FEMA issues and the boards have worked hand-in-hand with him getting reimbursement from FEMA. “I can’t say enough about the board all the years I’ve been here.”

Dains said he’s also thankful for all the support from town residents and all the employees in the department and the town overall.

“I hope things move progressively forward and better in the years to come,” he added. “I want to thank all (the board) and past board members. I really appreciate it and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Town Supervisor Clyde Drake said Dains retiring was something he knew was a possibility, but was hoping it wasn’t going to happen in his time as town supervisor.

“He certainly deserves the right to retire and enjoy his time,” he added. “I certainly want to thank Denny for working with us. Every morning he was in my office if I was there.”

Town Councilman James Krezmien thanked Dains for his outstanding service, adding that “it made our jobs much easier, also.”

Town Councilman Phil Drozd said he hired Dains when he was the town’s highway superintendent and worked well with him over the years when Drozd went to the county. “I hate to say it, but it just shows how old we’re getting,” he added.

Town Councilman William Snyder also thanked Dains for his years in the highway department, as well as for his work in the fire department, control center and other roles in the community.

“You certainly did a fine job of serving the public and taking care of the roads and, as (Krezmein) mentioned earlier, it made our jobs a lot earlier,” he added.

Taking over the position of Highway Superintendent will be Barry Edwards, a longtime employee of the highway department. Drake said interviews with several candidates were conducted by Krezmein and Drozd.

“Because he is replacing (Dains) after the elections, that position will be up for next year,” Drake explained. “And then it will be up again the following year because that was the end of when Denny’s term was, so this appointment is truly just for one year.”

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