WHITMAN — Chief Timothy Grenno is pleased to announce that the Whitman Fire Department held its annual firefighters memorial and awards ceremony this past weekend.
On Sunday, June 6, present and former Whitman firefighters, their families, elected officials and special guests gathered at the Central Fire Station on Temple Street for the event. Guests in attendance included Senator Mike Brake, State Representative Allyson Sullivan and members of the Whitman Board of Selectmen.
Following coffee and breakfast served courtesy the Whitman Knights of Columbus, Chief Grenno began the event by welcoming everyone to the annual ceremony. A wreath was then placed at the station’s Memorial Bell by members of Whitman Firefighters Local 1769.
Firefighter/EMTP Scott Figgins, who serves as President of Local 1769, also gave remarks.
Chief Grenno also presented a department-wide citation to firefighters for their professionalism and perseverance in dealing with COVID-19, stating how everyone played and instrumental role in the department’s response.
As part of the presentation, the department’s four shift commanders were called up to receive the award along with retired Lt. Bob Hover (who retired during the pandemic.)
“The COVID virus came at us fast without hesitation and quickly taxed our emotions and stress levels. Coupled with the shortage of proper protective equipment, we were quickly thrown into a whirlwind trying to protect our members and their families, all while answering the call for help,” Chief Grenno said. “The members of this department were put in harm’s way like hopefully we never have to experience again. It took an army, it took a team, it took a miracle, and we had all that. Our members would not be defeated … It took several months before we had a positive case, and in the end, after 15 months, our department saw only two cases of members testing positive. That is a testament to your dedication and professionalism.”
Those in attendance then marched to Colebrook Cemetery, where a wreath was placed at the Whitman Firefighters Memorial. The march included members from the Whitman Police Honor Guard and Whitman American Legion Post Honor Guard.
A roll call and tolling of the bell for deceased members then took place, as did a reading of the Firefighter’s Prayer by longtime fire chaplain Father Allan Butler.
Chief Grenno gave his final address at the memorial event, as he will be retiring from the department later this summer. He honored current firefighters and those who have been lost.
“Today we take time to remember the sacrifices you pay every day and the sacrifices of those who have responded to that last alarm and have left us, but not without leaving a footprint, leaving an impression in their own way,” Chief Grenno said. “In the past we have honored great members of this department who paved the road for which we travel. Today is no different.”
As one of his last official acts as Chief, Grenno also dedicated a brick at the memorial outside the fire station to his father, former Fire Chief Richard Grenno, who passed away in 1989 after a 35-year career.
He described his father as someone who “rose through the ranks and who gave 100% to the department, demonstrating confidence, professionalism and leadership.”