Members of the Rockport Fire Department surprised longtime firefighter Charlie Knight with the dedicating the new Squad 25 vehicle in his honor. The dedication was made during the fire department's annual barbecue on July 19.

Knight joined the Rockport Fire Department in 1976, and during his 42-year career he served as both assistant chief and deputy chief, and has continued to respond to calls at any hour of the day or night. Fire Chief Jason Peasley began working with Knight when he was hired by the department in 2013.

"Over the past five years that I've been working with him, I've gotten to know [Knight] as 'Mr. Dependable.' It doesn't matter what time a call comes in, what the weather is like, he'll be there. He is one of the most tenured men in the department, and he responds to as many or more calls as the other firefighters," said Peasley. Asked if Knight is still responding to emergencies in the area, Peasley replied, "100 percent!"

"Dedicated to Charles E. Knight for his years of service and dedication," reads the inscription on the newly acquired fire truck. Squad 25 is a 2018 E-One Typhoon pumper truck which can perform car extractions and some forestry services, in addition to serving as a rescue truck and a powerful water pump.

The dedication of the truck was kept a surprise from both Knight and his wife Barbara; Peasley instead worked with Knight's two children to arrange the event. Peasley said that Mr. Knight was "speechless" when the newly-painted truck was unveiled.

Following the dedication, firefighters and their friends and family enjoyed a spread of hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and salads at the celebration, which was held at the Rockport Fire Station. The department is preparing for its fourth annual boot-drive fundraiser, which will be held at the intersection of Routes 17 and 90 on Friday, Aug. 10 from 1 to 6 p.m.