Benches Honor Former Chiefs

Chiefs' honor grows from Rose donation
Amy L. Zitka, Staff Writer, The Herald Press
Sunday, January 23, 2000 pg. A3​

CROMWELL -- The Cromwell Fire Department takes pride in its past, including its chiefs, and members like to preserve the memories.

memorial benchRecently installed in front of the Coles Road firehouse are concrete and wooden benches honoring the first four chiefs of the department.

The Rose family made a $1,000 donation to the fire department in memory of Christopher Rose, the department's fourth chief. Rose, who served as chief from 1962 to 1968, died May 14, 1999.

With the donation, the department members decided to honor Rose and the three other deceased chiefs in the department's 71-year history.

"It's tremendous," said Mark Rose, one of Christopher Rose's sons. "It's an excellent idea."

The department committee considering what to do with the donation approached him several months ago with the idea of the benches, he said. There was no objection, either from Mark Rose or from the siblings to whom he mentioned it, who all thought "it was an excellent use of the money."

"It's tremendous," said Mark Rose, one of Christopher Rose's sons.

Name PlateFirefighter Todd Purzycki, with help from Ed Lewandowski, built the concrete and wooden benches. In the middle of each top wooden bench slat is a brass nameplate memorializing a past fire chief and his years in office.

Beside the bench honoring Rose, there is a bench honoring the chief who was first in leading the department -- Charles A. Johnson, who served from 1928 to 1941. The second chief, serving from 1941 to 1952, Hjalmer Blomberg, and the third, Chief Clerence L. Stetson, who led the department from 1952 to 1962, are also honored.

The benches are near the sidewalk, facing the roadway, so they can be seen by passers-by. Having the benches on the property invites people to use the fire department grounds, Purzycki said. "People can use them to sit and relax," he said.

The Coles Road area is becoming more developed, so there are more people in the neighborhood, so "it also gives a short history lesson of the Cromwell Fire Department. You see who the chiefs were," Purzycki said.

"It shows we know our past, of who made sacrifices and served, and they will be remembered," Fire Chief David Colligan said. With the remainder of the donation, a plaque is expected to be made, he said.