Harrisville Fire recognizes 50 year members, adds three to Community Honor Roll

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BURRILLVILLE – Since 1988, the Harrisville Fire Department has maintained a plaque at the station listing the businesses and individuals who’ve made outstanding contributions to the district’s efforts over the years.

This week, three more entries were added to the list of 20 already named to the Community Honor Roll, following the department’s 110th annual banquet on Saturday, April 2 at Bella Restaurant.

Well One Medical & Dental in Pascoag was recognized both for supporting the department during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as ongoing contributions over the years that include conducting the district’s annual flu clinics, and annual physicals for members.

Harrisville Li’l General and owner Kenneth Marcotte were honored for supporting the department with needed supplies during storms and other emergencies.

And Stephen King, the former owner of Lawrence Brothers Hardware, was recognized individually for support of all of the village fire district’s efforts, from providing supplies, to helping out with all of the raffles and fundraisers over the years.

“They were recognized for service to the Harrisville Fire Department,” explained Harrisville Fire Chief Michael Gingell.

Gingell said 90 firefighters and guests attended the event, which included dinner, dancing, and also recognition for three volunteers who have now served with the department for more than five decades.

Lt. Charles Comtois, Engineer Douglas Rhodes and Chief Mark St. Pierre received 50 year service awards. Volunteers since the early 1970s, the three longtime firefighters have worked under three chiefs, including Gingell, Chief Maxime Menard and the current chief’s uncle, former Chief Edward Gingell.

Harrisville Chief Emeritus Mark St. Pierre

Gingell noted that Comtois, Rhodes and St. Pierre all have emeritus status, an indication they served honorably and with privilege, and will always be recognized with their ranks. In the case of Comtois, Rhodes and St. Pierre, who have served since 1971, 1970 and 1972 respectively, the members still help out, and are currently active with the Harrisville Fire Department.

“They’re still serving with Harrisville,” said Gingell. “They’re not chasing everyday fires, but the bigger calls – they show up. They operate in a support function.”

The annual awards for both volunteers and community partners memorialized the rolls played in the long and successful history of the fire district.

From left, EMT/Firefighter Joshua Mayer, Lt. Michael Dutilly and Firefighter/EMT Jason Nichols show off equipment recently purchased with a forestry grant.

Gingell noted that the Harrisville Fire Department also recently received a $2,000 Rhode Island Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant for the acquisition of equipment to fight outdoor wood and grass fires.

“We were able to supplement and purchase forestry and brush fire equipment,” the chief said. “We’ve gotten it once a year for the past several years.”

Gingell noted Firefiighter/EMT Michael Dutilly helped with the state forestry grant.

“We got two new battery operated chainsaws, three handheld weather meters, eight brush rakes and half a dozen forestry shirts and helmets,” Dutilly said. “We were able to outfit the entire department with headlamps on the forestry helmets for nighttime operations.”

Gingell thanked the entire department for their ongoing contribution to the success of HFD.

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