Chief Matthew Grafton
25 Central Street
Stoneham, MA 02180-2044
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Statement of Stoneham Fire Chief Matthew Grafton
STONEHAM — Fire Chief Matthew Grafton issues the following statement in response to the death of Stoneham Firefighter David Atherton:
“The Stoneham Fire Department experienced a great tragedy this week, and today we are mourning the loss of a brother. Firefighter David Atherton was new to our department, but had already given a lifetime’s worth of dedicated service to his fellow man.
“Firefighter Atherton was appointed on Feb. 11, 2016 and graduated from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy on June 10. He is a Stoneham native and 2011 graduate of Stoneham High School. He served with distinction in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, where he was a military police officer who deployed to Qatar in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from 2012 to 2013. He was awarded eight times during his National Guard career for his actions, including the receipt of the Army Commendation Medal.
“Firefighter Atherton always wanted to help people. He was selfless and dedicated, and he overcame great tragedy as he lost both of his parents at a young age. I cannot help but feel that the best was yet to come for this young man, and we in the Stoneham Fire Department are still coming to terms with this loss.
“Our brother will be buried with full military and fire department honors.”
The Stoneham Fire Department asks that members of the media respect the privacy of Firefighter Atherton’s family and fellow firefighters. This serves as the department’s official statement.