SHIRLEY — Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan was honored with the Ayer Harvard Shirley Rotary Club by being made a Paul Harris Fellow.
The club has made a donation of $1,000 in his name to the Paul Harris Foundation, named for the founder of rotary. The foundation is involved in many projects around the world, including Polio Plus, an effort which is close to stamping out polio in every corner of the world.
Coan has been a frequent visitor and speaker for the club and had arranged for it to tour the state Firefighters Academy in Stow several years ago.
Club President Peter Lowitt, and Rotarian Peter Warren, host for the Rotary’s annual Firefighters Appreciation Night at the Bull Run Restaurant in Shirley, presented the award.
Coan spoke briefly of issues the country is now facing. After the horrific event of the nightclub fire in Rhode Island in 2003, he has pushed the commonwealth of Massachusetts to make such facilities here safer by requiring sprinkler systems.
He has also been working on another change for safety’s sake. He announced that very soon, every house that is sold in the state will be required to have carbon monoxide detectors, just as smoke detectors are now required. He is very concerned about faulting heating systems poisoning people in Massachusetts, especially as the heating season is just getting started, and he encourages everyone to install carbon monoxide detectors.
Warren introduced keynote speaker Robert DiPoli, retired fire chief of 35 years of the Needham Fire Department and immediate past president of the International Fire Chiefs Association. He has just returned from a conference in Washington, D.C., concerning the Katrina disaster.
DiPoli said this country needs to do more to keep firefighters safe as they risk their lives. The fire department in Tokyo, Japan, for example, lost only one firefighter last year. Much can be done to reduce deaths and injuries of firefighters. He said he would like to see more funding at all levels for firefighting. The small departments in rural areas especially need help.
The club hosted many area firefighters.
Pepperell guests were Chief Costa Bozicas, James Straitiff and Joshua Yenetchi.
From Littleton were retired Chief Alexander McCurdy, newly appointed Chief Steve Carter, Alan Sundquist, Lt. Steele McCurdy, Tim Pacheco and Tom Kneeland.
From Ayer were Chief Paul Fillebrown, Peter K. Johnston (retired), Robert DeCosta, Jerry Peters, Steve Mickle, Brenda Hurley, Andrew Anderson, Chaplain Phil Goff (now from N. Grafton), Robert Pedrazzi, Timothy Johnston and Charles Dillon.
Groton firefighters were Chief Joseph Bosselait, Lt. Larry Thompson, Lt. Brian Mayer, Lt. Susan Ragusa, Capt. Tony Hawgood and Steven Morlock.
From Shirley were Chief Dennis Levesque, William Poitras, Bob Shakarian, Marty Scott, Joe Hawthorne, Brandon O’Connor, Kristy Levesque and Matthew Addonizio.
From Harvard were Chief Robert Mignard, retired Chief Jack Burdick, retired Chief Peter Warren, retired Chief Paul Johnston, deputy chief Scott Nogler, Sean Murphy, Lt. Rob Warren, Richard Powderly, Kenneth Harrod, Dave Woodsum and S.A.F.E. coordinator Oona Aldrich.
Lunenburg Chief Scott Glenny and Lt. James Ricci, along with Devens Fire Chief Thomas Garrity, also attended as guests. Retired Lt. Bruce Stone from the Concord Fire Department also attended.
The Ayer Harvard Shirley Rotary Club holds this dinner every year to promote fire safety awareness and to show appreciation for the local heroes who help keep us safe.