Community gathers to remember Chepachet fire chief


GLOCESTER, R.I. (WPRI) — A large crowd of motorcycle riders gathered in the northwest corner of the state this morning, gathering to remember the late Fire Chief Robert “Bob” Dauphinais of the Chepachet Fire Department.

Bob and his wife Ericka were in a motorcycle accident in Wrentham, Massachusetts back in July.

Bob passed away from his injuries two weeks later. It was determined Bob suffered a stroke, which caused him to lose control and crash on July 7.

Ericka, who is still healing from minor injuries, spoke with Eyewitness News on Sunday, saying that she is grateful for the community support.

“He would say it would be too over the top and he would not be happy about it,” said Ericka Dauphinais. “I think he would be really glad that the community came together for him.”

Her physical injuries continue to heal, but she said the mental injuries are still fresh in her mind.

“I think the last 23 years that he and I were together were the best 23 years of my life. It’s hard without him,” she said.

Neighboring Pascoag Fire Department’s ladder truck was front and center along with a Chepachet ladder truck, holding up the American Flag.

Lieutenant Cody Meinville from the Pascoag Fire Department helped organize the inaugural Bob’s Bike Run.

“It means everything to give back to the family and help them out during their worst time possible,” said Meinville.

Meinville told Eyewitness News he had help from fellow firefighters Brandon Pynn and Danielle Ackley.

Ackley said Bob was a part of her life since the day she was born.

“He always gave back to this community,” said Ackley. “We figured this was our chance to pay it back in honor of Bob. Because this is what he would have done in anyone else’s situation.”

Riders donated $25 per person to participate in Sunday’s bike ride. All going to Ericka and her children.

Ericka says she hopes to create a foundation for her late husband.

“It will help people looking to become firefighters, rescue personnel, or nursing,” she said of the foundation. “Also [the foundation] will help those who have suffered from traumatic brain injury.”

Just after 11:30 a.m. Sunday, the bikes took off from Hill’s Tavern on Route 44. The ride took the bikers through what is known as “God’s Country” to Cady’s Tavern in western Glocester.

“He is the only other person I would ever ride with. It’s going to be hard for both of us,” Ericka said as she prepared to take part in the bike ride with her brother-in-law.

Ericka said Sunday will be her final motorcycle ride.

“I would like everyone to know that Bob would want people to continue helping other people,” she said.

The owners of Hill’s Tavern Al & A.J. Hill said they were happy to help in any way possible. A.J. said he was contacted by Meinville to host Sunday’s bike run.

Bikers made a pit stop at Cady’s Tavern just down Route 44 in western Glocester. Owner Robin Tyo says she will miss Bob very much.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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