WESTFORD — Organizers and volunteers have rallied to show their appreciation to Westford’s first responders and public safety personnel.
Members of the Westford Fire Department, Westford Police Department and Public Safety Communications Department were in attendance with their families.
“These guys see us at our worst. So we said let’s feed them, have gifts for them, it makes me feel good to do something like that,” Nancy Cook, one of the event’s organizers, told WestfordCAT.
Organizers raised over $2,400 in donations to sponsor the event. A number of organizations and families, such as Westford Remembers, the See a New Sun Foundation, Kimball Farm, the Westford Women’s Club and the Masalehdan family among others assisted with the event, gifts and catering.
Select Board Vice Chair Tom Clay gave a brief address to attendees.
“You encounter us at our worst and you see us with grace and dignity,” Clay said. “Please bless their families with all of the support they provide and thank you all for helping to keep us safe.”
Retiring public safety personnel in attendance
A number of public safety personnel set to retire were in attendance, including Lieutenant Donald R. Parsons, who has served on the Westford Fire Department since 1976.
“Back then, I started with my dad. I served on Westford Fire and as an EMT,” Parsons told WestfordCAT.
During his 47-year career with the town, Parsons focused on fire prevention, where he dedicated himself to preventing tragedy in his community.
“When the Rhode Island nightclub fire happened, I swore I would never let that happen here. Even though we lost a life one night, we never had a situation where we had 100 people lose their lives,” he said. “I kept that in the back of my mind all of the time.”
He continued,” the bottom line was keeping our community safe.”
Parsons said working for the Town of Westford was a “blessing,” but noted disappointment that a number of public safety personnel live outside of town as a result of the rising cost of living.
“What’s sad today is that the people that are serving on our department aren’t from here because they can’t afford to live here anymore,” he said.
He continued, “but what’s important is that even though we all have separate jobs, we’re all in for the town.”
A number of other personnel, including Captain Mark Valcourt and Joe Delpapa will be retiring from the Westford Fire Department as well. Parsons, Valcourt and Delpapa have a combined 111 and a half years of experience.
The seventh annual First Responders Appreciation Day celebration was held at the Franco-American Club. The event was originally hosted on May 7 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Watch the video below.
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