photo: John Craig/WGY News

Today, Thursday, January 30, marked Chief Michael Della Rocco's last day of service in a 37-year long career with the City of Schenectady. A "Walking Out" Ceremony took place at the Schenectady Fire Department this morning.

At Schenectady’s Fire Headquarters on Thursday morning, Fire Chief Michael Della Rocco fought back tears, thanked friends and mentors, praised his family and the families of all those who serve and was lauded with proclamations and even the Key to the City.

It was the first-ever "Walking Out" ceremony in the city of Schenectady, a tradition borrowed from Albany. Della Rocco spent over 37 years with the department, the last two and a half as Chief.

“Firefighters today, they need to be exceptional,” Della Rocco said during his brief remarks in the bays at the headquarters. He offered some advice, “Know the way, go the way, show the way.”

Della Rocco was on the NYS Urban Search and Rescue team and among the first to respond in the hours after the 9/11 attacks.

“There’s probably not a single street in Schenectady where I don’t remember answering a cal and everyone was different,” he said.