By SHERIDAN CYR
Community members joined together at the Southington Fire Headquarters last week to celebrate the dedication of the Southington Fallen Firefighters Memorial Highway in honor of five Southington firefighters who died in the line of duty.
This past legislative session, the Connecticut General Assembly passed legislation to dedicate the portion of Meriden Avenue (Route 120) from Route 322 to Route 10 in Southington to the fallen firefighters. Signage was recently installed by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
“This has been a work in progress for nearly two years. We want to thank our local and state legislators and senators,” said Battalion Chief Eric Heath. “The Southington Fire Department lost five of its members while in the service to the citizens of Southington. Memorializing them is bittersweet, as it is both right and honorable to do so but in that we are reminded of not only their sacrifices, but the sacrifice of their families.”
Heath said it should be the department’s goal and mission to not add any names to those they have lost. Equally as important, he said, is the need to recognize the sacrifices of their family members who bear the loss of their loved ones.
A citation from the Connecticut General Assembly was presented at the ceremony, signed by Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D-30), Rep. Rob Sampson (R-81), Rep. John Fusco (R-80), Rep. Liz Linehan (D-103) and Senator Joe Markley (R-16).
“How this came to be was a simple discussion of what we can do to further honor and remember those members who serve the town of Southington with the dedication of the road,” said Aresimowicz. “We operate as ‘Team Southington,’ so it gives me great pleasure to be here with my colleagues in the house and senate just to say how much we really do appreciate all the service you do.”
He said those in public service do the opposite of what most people do in their daily lives.
“We run away from danger,” he said. “Those of you who serve, you run to the danger.”
Rep. Sampson read the citation aloud. “These heroes bravely serve the community and exemplify the ideals that we as Americans hold dear: bravery, loyalty, honor, dedication and commitment.”
He thanked all current and past firefighters and commended them for their sacrifices and choice to work or volunteer in public safety despite a great risk.
Rep. Fusco commented, “It’s nothing short of extraordinary, the courage they display.”
The five members of the Southington Firefighters are: Lieutenant William Peck (July 16, 1977); Assistant Chief Francis Casale (Nov. 22, 1981); Firefighter Roger Sullivan (Oct. 17, 1984); Firefighter Carl Sherman (Jan. 4, 2005); and Firefighter Justin Wisniewski (April 3, 2005).
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.