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As Memorial Day approaches, so too does the completion of the memorial garden at the corner of Huntington Fire Co. #3’s property.
On Sunday, April 14, fire department volunteers spent some three hours laying out the 10-foot Maltese cross, which will sit among the numerous commemorative bricks residents have been purchasing for months. Next will come landscaping and brick placement — with completion expected by Memorial Day.
“Without the support of the community, we could not have done this,” said Huntington Fire Capt. Donald Zak, adding that the department’s fundraising efforts were key to completing this beautiful yet expensive project.
Zak said an official dedication of the garden — created to honor past and present department members as part of the company’s 100th anniversary — will be held on Sunday, May 26. The dedication will be proceeded by a memorial service to honor past members. During the dedication, the American Legion will raise a new American flag on the center pole, with the company flag and state of Connecticut flag flanking on each side.
Placement of the Maltese cross comes weeks after the three large flag poles were set in place at the corner of Huntington Fire Co. #3’s property. And all along, Zak said the work has been a collaborative effort among the city administration, the department’s volunteer membership and the community at large.
Among those contributing time and materials is Pete Mavilla of Mavilla Landscaping, who is the lead on all the brick and stone work; Carl Bigda of Universal Electric; Jeff Shuster, who has his own contracting business; and Ward Hope of Finishing Touch. The crane work for that job was supplied by Bridgeport-based A&A Crane & Rigging. And this is just a small representation of the members who have devoted time to making this memorial garden a reality.
When finished, Zak said the brick memorial will be surrounded by benches and the three flagpoles. A large rock, pulled from the ground when Huntington Station was built in 1969, will be moved over from its current spot, in order to be part of the memorial.
Zak said that the area is now prepared for the installation of the 10-foot Maltese cross and memorial bricks that have been purchased. Residents can still purchase a brick engraved with a personal message, and that brick will be placed into the patio for all to see.
“It is a great opportunity to remember a loved one, or honor a special person, friend or family member, possibly for your group or organization, a special anniversary, or to demonstrate support on behalf of a business,” said Zak.
Construction and landscaping labor is being done by the fire company’s volunteer members.
The Huntington Fire Co. #3, itself, has 80 active members, and there are some 220 with the four companies in the city. But Zak stressed that the departments throughout Shelton are always seeking more volunteers.
Bricks for the memorial can be ordered online at polar-engraving.com/huntingtonfirecompany. A 4” x 8” brick with engraved text is $100 and $110 with clip art of logos. An 8” x 8” brick option is available for $175-$185. Orders can be placed directly on the engraving site.
To learn more about the project or about Huntington Fire Company No. 3, visit huntingtonfireco3.com.