WESTPORT — Anthony Maisano won’t forget the Memorial Day moment he experienced early in his career with the Westport Fire Department.

“My most memorable moment was coming back from the fire academy and having a fire on Memorial Day in 2013, right here in town,” Maisano said. “That started my career off with a bang. That kicked it off.”

Maisano took the next big step in his career on Tuesday by being promoted to lieutenant, during a special ceremony before his family and friends — another moment he won’t soon forget.

A North Haven native and West Haven resident, Maisano was appointed to the position of Wesport firefighter in November 2012. He is member of the Westport Police/Fire Dive team and is a recent addition to the regional hazardous material team.

“I look forward to having the opportunity to work with all the firefighters in our organization in my new shift and I look forward to the challenges ahead,” said Maisano, whose fiancee Shannon attended the ceremony, along with his parents. “Being a firefighter for the Westport Fire Department has been a great experience. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to add to my training and experience over the years. The department has given me a lot of opportunities. They have empowered me to be the best firefighter I can be and, hopefully, the best lieutenant.”

Westport First Selectman James Marpe administered the oath of office, and Maisano’s fiancee pinned his new lieutenant’s badge on his uniform.

“My best wishes to you and congratulations to you,” Marpe said. “Know that the town of Westport supports you in your new leadership role, and we as a community will help you develop your skills to advance even further in the firet department.”

Earning the role of lieutenant in a fire department is a challenging process.

“Here you must have a minimum of seven years on the job and you really have to start studying, it’s a rigorous test,” said Wesport Fire Chief Robert Yost, who announced Maisano’s promotion on Tuesday. “There is a written test, an oral test and Anthony did really well on the test — he came out No. 1. It could take a few months, but some say it takes years.”

State Sen. Will Haskell, D-Westport, paid tribute to Maisano at the ceremony and read congratulatory words from U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn.

Maisano graduated from the University of New Haven in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in fire administration and arson investigation. He became interested in pursuing a career as a firefighter while in college.

“I had a lot of good professors,” Maisano said. “They were tough, they were challenging, but I thank them for inspiring me.”

Indeed, Maisano has received quite an education during his time at the Westport Fire Department.

“I’ve learned something from everybody,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with good lieutenants and chiefs, some of whom have retired recently and some that are still here. They are great to listen to and gain experience from.”

While a student at North Haven High School, Maisano played football and track and field. He helped lead North Haven’s offensive line as an offensive tackle. And on defense, he lined up at nose tackle.

“The challenges that came with playing sports helped me,” Maisano said. “The mental and physical toughness side of it. Learning how to be coached was huge. Like here at the fire department, it’s a team. We’re competing to be better and improve and work with one another.”

Maisano begins the next step in his career this week — Thursday, to be exact.

“This is probably one of the most important steps in a firefighter’s career,” Yost said. “It’s the biggest step going from a firefighter, to a first-line supervisor, or a lieutenant, in this case. You go from looking out for yourself and the public, to looking out for yourself, the public and your firefighters. He’s going to get a lot of support — we have an aggressive training program — and he’s going to do great.”

dfierro@greenwichtime.com