Wayne D. Vetre Memorial Scholarship Fund
Est. 2021 by Jacklyn A. Belmonte.
It’s a special kind of person who’s willing to put his own life at risk to save another human being.
Wayne Vetre was such a person who knew early on in life he wanted to be a firefighter. At the early age of 14, he began his career as a Fire Explorer with the Guilford Fire Department, later departing to join the East Haven Fire Department as a firefighter. He then came back to Guilford where he moved “up the ranks” to become the Assistant Fire Chief - a title he held for 15 years of a 40-year career. While working in that capacity, Wayne also served as Deputy Fire Marshal, Deputy Emergency Management Director, Flood Plain Administrator, PSAP (911) Coordinator, Homeland Security Administrator, Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) Administrator, Hazmat Coordinator, and Emergency Notification System Administrator.
Wayne always wanted better things for his fellow firefighters, fire department, and residents. During his tenure, he secured numerous grants for education, safety, training, and personnel for the benefit of the Town of Guilford.
As he approached retirement age, a time when many people dream of relaxation and freedom from having to work every day, Wayne began sending out resumes to various fire departments across New England in search of reaching another career first – to become Fire Chief. That goal was reached in 2016 when he accepted a position as Fire Chief in Wells, Maine.
Wayne’s personal mission statement, inspired by a mentor, was ‘Just do something - even if it’s wrong. It’s ok to make a mistake, you just have to do something.’ This courageous philosophy aided him when pursuing his life’s ambition. As all firefighters are, Wayne was fearless with regard to his work and his life in general.
Upon Wayne’s passing, a scholarship fund was created by his widow, Jackie Belmonte, to honor Wayne’s life and carry on his charitable spirit. “Wayne would have wanted to help others pursue college degrees - to help them achieve their dreams, just like he did,” says Belmonte.
The Fund provides a scholarship at The University of New Haven for first-time college students pursuing a degree in Fire Science, as well as firefighters going back to school to pursue a Fire Science degree.