Massachusetts

NAMES

Retiring Boston Fire spokesman Steve MacDonald gets a surprise send-off

A surprise retirement party was held at Florian Hall for Boston Fire Department Public Information Officer Steve MacDonald (right, with Boston Fire Commissioner Joe Finn).
Bill Brett for the boston globe
A surprise retirement party was held at Florian Hall for Boston Fire Department Public Information Officer Steve MacDonald (right, with Boston Fire Commissioner Joe Finn).

A legend at the Boston Fire Department is retiring at the end of February.

Steve MacDonald, the spokesman for the Boston Fire Department, a veteran of more than 31 years on the job, was surprised when he showed up at Florian Hall Wednesday.

He thought he was showing up for an interview with Boston 25 and was greeted by more than 100 well-wishers including Mayor Marty Walsh, Fire Commissioner Joe Finn, members of Boston firefighters local 718, his family, and several television cameras.

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Also in attendance was International Association of Fire Fighters General Secretary Treasurer Ed Kelly, a close friend who flew in from Washington, D.C., to be there. Several members of the media who worked with MacDonald over the years were also on hand.

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Finn said MacDonald was one of his most trusted advisers, who always provided sound advice in times of crisis.

“I will miss his wise counsel,” Finn told a packed room at Florian Hall in Dorchester. “Steve was always the voice of reason.”

MacDonald will reach the mandatory retirement age of 65 this month.

Former Fire Commissioner Marty Pierce named MacDonald to the public information post in 1994.

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“Steve had been the face of this department for many years and he has done a great job,” Pierce told the crowd, adding he will be tough to replace.

The two new spokesmen for the Boston Fire Department will be Marc A. Sanders and Brian K. Alkins.

Mike Bello can be reached at mbello@globe.com