By John Anderson
As a former Auburn Firefighter, I was privileged to work with Deputy Chief Glenn Mitchell for 6 years. Not only was he a gentleman, he had an incredible knowledge about Auburn, about fighting fires, and about fighting Auburn’s fires. Whether in the woods chasing a brush fire or in a building that was ablaze, Chief Mitchell would make suggestions on how to get the job done or how to do it better.
I never heard him yell or even get excited. He knew the fire business.
Chief Mitchell proudly served Auburn for nearly 40 years, sometimes as Highway Surveyor and Tree Warden, but always as a member of the Auburn Fire Department. The Drury Square station was a second home to him and his family, and his son, Captain Jeff Mitchell, carries on the family legacy. His late wife Bette always rode shotgun in his car to the after hours calls, and many wondered why she didn’t have her own turnout gear.
When it was announced that Auburn’s long retired Engine 3 would be carrying the casket from the funeral to Hillside Cemetery, many were thrilled. This was an inspiring show of respect for a man who gave a lot to his community. Engine 3 is owned by former Auburn and current Sturbridge firefighter Gordon Holstrom, and he was honored to provide and drive the 1939 Maxim.
In the officer’s seat sat Captain Mitchell holding his father’s white Deputy Chief helmet. On the back step were firefighters Gary Almstrom and Jim Sweeney along with retired Lieutenant Ken Holstrom. The truck paused for a few minutes in front of Fire Headquarters before heading up Central St. to the Deputy’s final resting place. Current department members were also in the processional with Car 1, the new Engine 3, and Ambulance 1.
A finer display of honor and respect was not possible, and I’m sure Deputy Chief Mitchell would have been humbled if not a bit embarrassed. For a guy who never wanted to bother others, he should know that it was no bother.
Rest well Chief.