Uncle Sam comes through for Orange Fire Dept.

Published: 8/4/2018 3:14:17 PM

Here are brief thoughts on some of the events taking place around Franklin County and the North Quabbin area:

Thanks to $561,906 in federal emergency assistance, upgrades for the Orange Fire Department may be in the near future, courtesy of Uncle Sam.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the money for the purchase of a pumper truck and an air compressor refill system.

It’s always good news when our cash-strapped but hard-working local firefighters can snag a federal grant, especially such a large one. Modern fire trucks are outrageously expensive, so it’s nice to see some of our federal tax dollars come back home in such a concrete way.

Warwick school

A grant awarded to Warwick to fund improvements to its elementary school will still be available even if the use of the building changes, which seems increasingly likely.

Earlier this month Warwick was awarded a grant from the state Department of Energy Resources that are to be used on renovations at the Warwick Community School.

But Pioneer Valley Regional School District’s fiscal woes threaten to close the school as a cost saving measure. If that happens, the town is likely to re-purpose the property. So it was a relief to hear town officials have been reassured the money can still be used despite the possible change in the use of the school house.

Scout service

A local Boy Scout from Athol painted roughly 100 fire hydrants throughout town as part of his Eagle Scout Service Project this summer. That’s a lot of work, and valuable to the town.

To earn the Eagle Scout rank, the highest achievement attainable in Boy Scouts, candidates must demonstrate leadership, service and outdoor skills. Completing a capstone service project is therefore a requirement to attain the rank.

Gabriel Roberts has been a Boy Scout for the past eight years.

Roberts worked on the project with Douglas Walsh, superintendent of Athol’s Department of Public Works, which donated the necessary materials.

Assistant Superintendent Dick Kilhart said he was enthusiastic about the project because it reminded him of his early days. At 14, Kilhart said, he landed a seasonal job in Orange painting fire hydrants for that town’s water department. Also an Eagle Scout, he said the projects teach young men a “sense of pride and commitment to the community.”

It’s all good.

River dining

Preparations are underway for this year’s Dinner By The River, which we think is a great community event.

Hosted by the Orange Revitalization Partnership-Friends of the Parks, the annual event will be held Aug. 25 at the Riverfront Park on East River Street. It is a fundraiser for the parks of Orange and features oldies rock and country music.

Summer food

Congressman Jim McGovern once again showed is abiding interesting in helping feed the needy. This time it was in Royalston, for a Summer Foods Rocks Tour to celebrate the state supported Summer Eats program.

The program provides nutritious meals to children ages 18 and younger across Massachusetts during the summers, so no student goes hungry when school’s out.

Meals are served at Whitney Hall Park Monday through Friday until Aug. 17.

Let there be peace

Orange’s Peace Statue always make us somber, but proud.

A memorial of World War I, “the war to end all wars,” it was built in 1934, sadly just a few years before World War II began, claiming double the number of lives as the First World War. And there have been many smaller wars fought by Americans since then, and many, many more fought by others to this day – as the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI approaches.

But it is encouraging that the monument has become more than a reminder of a horrid war but more of a hopeful harbinger of a world without war.

The bronze statue depicts a uniformed U.S. soldier, having returned from war in Europe, placing his hand on the back of a young boy, who holds a book under one arm and an outstretched fist in the other. The image, although simple, is powerful, the inscription hopeful: “It shall not be again.”

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