Two firemen from Lanesborough, Massachusetts had the honour of leading the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Lanesboro, celebrating the special twin-towns relationship that exists between two communities on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Deputy Fire Chief Charles ‘Butch’ Garrity and Fireman Max LaCasse from Lanesborough Fire Department, carrying their twin-towns banner, proudly strode through the streets of Lanesboro where they were greeted with rapturous applause and received a warm ‘céad míle fáilte’.
Deputy Chief Garrity described the experience as ‘one of the best in his life’ and he was delighted to see the helmet of his Fire Chief Charles Durfee, which features the signature of every member of the Lanesborough Fire Department, on display in Lanesboro’s newly constructed fire station which was officially opened in January by Environment Minister Alan Kelly TD.
Deputy Chief Garrity and Firefighter LaCasse, to mark their visit, also presented a large colour print on canvas displaying Lanesborough MA Fire Department members in their uniforms and special tee-shirts, produced to mark Lanesborough’s 250th Anniversary, to their Lanesboro counterparts, including Station Officer PJ Hynes, Sub Officer Kevin Madden, driver mechanic Brendan Keane and fire fighters Noel Horohoe, Pat Rock, Vincent McGowan and Sean Mimnagh.
Lanesborough residents Mark and Stephanie Abrams, who are regular visitors to Lanesboro, were instrumental in the twinning of the two towns which was initiated in 2006.
Indeed, media travel expert Stephanie ( www.sabrams.com and @iTripU ) visited Lanesboro earlier this year and she was very impressed by the new of the state-of-the-art two bay fire station which also includes a training yard, drill tower and lecture facilities.
“When I visited the station on January 6, two weeks before its official opening, I offered our blessings and good wishes to the firemen and the firehouse from the townspeople of Lanesborough,” she remarked.
Lanesborough is in Berkshire County, Massachusetts and it has a population of 3,091. While according to Census 2011, Lanesboro has a population of 1,377. Stephanie says that the value of cultural exchanges that emerge from twin-town and sister-city relationships cannot be underestimated.
The Lanesboro parade was hugely enjoyable and see pages 26 & 27 and 70 & 71 for more coverage.