After 39 years of service, a Sturbridge Fire Department lieutenant clocked out Thursday for the final time.

STURBRIDGE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- After 39 years of service, a Sturbridge Fire Department lieutenant clocked out Thursday for the final time.

This morning, the sun rose over the Sturbridge Fire Department, marking the beginning of a new day, but for Lt. John Marinelli, it was the end of a lifetime of service.

"It's a very rewarding job, helping the community…It was a very good ride,” Marinelli explained.

Marinelli served 39 years on the Sturbridge Fire Department, but on Thursday, he left his final shift at the station and walked into retirement. His family and colleagues lined up to cheer him on as he took a minute to look back on his career.

"I had a great career with a bunch of great guys,” Marinelli said.

Sturbridge firefighter final ride 072221

Western Mass News photo

His colleagues told Western Mass News that they will remember him for his dedication to the force.

"He's a firemen's firefighter. He shows up to all the trainings, all the fires, on or off duty. It's going to be a big loss for me and for the department,” said Sturbridge Fire Lt. Matthew Roderick.

Roderick has worked beside Marinelli for 25 years and he said no longer having him by his side is going to take some getting used to.

"It's going to be something new for me, fighting fires without him. It's pretty rare I've fought a fire without John,” Roderick added.

The feeling is mutual.

"It's like my second family,” Marinelli said.

However, Marinelli said it’s time for him to take his final ride, saluting a lifetime of service to his community.

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