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Town Welcomes New Station With Open Arms

Town Welcomes New Station With Open Arms

Fire Chief Harry Jennings [Great Barrington Fire]

The Berkshire Eagle via YellowBrix

June 01, 2010

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA — State and town officials, current and former firemen and supporters of the new fire station were on hand Sunday afternoon to observe the official dedication of the building.

The guest of honor and main speaker, Mort T. Cavanaugh, fire chief in town for more than 40 years, told the audience of about 150 that “being a fireman is not easy. It takes a lot of time and a lot of training. Fires today burn hotter and they burn faster. We have to be prepared and we have to train harder.”

This modern facility, he said, will enable the Great Barrington department to be prepared.

“This station stands in memorial to all the firefighters who came before,” Cavanaugh said. “They gave their time and they fought our fires. May God bless them all.”

A host of current and former town officials — including former Selectmen Ronald Dlugosz, Anthony Blair and Margaret Beckwith and former Town Manager Burke E. LaClair — were at the station to see the dedication of the $9.1 million facility.

Firefighters from Sheffield, Monterey, Becket, Pittsfield, New Marlborough, Savoy and Egremont were also in attendance. The Berkshire Highlanders’ bagpipe band provided music. The Rev. Jill Graham, whose father, the late Marty Graham, was deputy chief for many years, offered the invocation.

Deputy Chief Edward G. McCormick was master of ceremonies. The new facility, he said, was “a tribute to those volunteers who served this community and surrounding communities in the past, present and future.”

Fire Chief Harry Jennings told the audience that the new station was “an asset to the entire town.”

The building, in addition to housing the fire department, is also used as a voting site, for flu clinics, for town strategic planning, for planning the town’s 250th anniversary celebration, and as the regional emergency center for all of Southern Berkshire County.

Jennings reiterated Cavanaugh’s point that the Great Barrington Fire Department trains extremely hard during the year.

“Last year, our guys put in 5,500 hours of their own time in training,” he said.

State Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, D-Lenox, presented the station with a Massachusetts state flag that flew over the Statehouse.

Blair also spoke, thanking a host of donor and supporters.

When the Town Meeting vote three years ago approved building the station, Blair said, “we celebrated that the voters came to the same conclusion that we did. That this was the building we needed.”