Memorial garden coming to life
The landscape in the area of the Huntington green is undergoing quite a makeover.
Onlookers watched last Wednesday as a crane lowered three large flag poles in place at the corner of Huntington Fire Co. #3’s property — all part of the memorial garden being created to honor past and present department members as part of the company’s 100th anniversary.
“This is a great project and will be a centerpiece for Huntington Center for years to come,” said Fire Chief Francis Jones as he watched the crane lower the first of three flag poles.
“What’s so special is that this is the 100th anniversary of Huntington Fire Company and their volunteer service and dedication to the community, the entire city of Shelton, but particularly the district of Huntington,” added Jones. “It’s the volunteers of Huntington … they’re doing it on their own with some community support.”
Jones called the creation of the memorial garden a “good collaborative effort” between the city administration, the department’s volunteer membership and the community at large.
“It’s a remembrance for all those that served our community over the past 100 years and honors all those that are serving today,” said Jones, adding that the project is result of 95% volunteer labor or in-kind donations from local vendors.
Among those contributing time and materials is Carl Bigda of Universal Electric; Jeff Shuster, who has his own contracting business; Ward Hope of Finishing Touch; Ryan Hathaway; James Blaskewicz and Ryan Ciambriello. Pete Mavilla and his crew from Mavilla Landscaping have done all the site work and will be installing the Maltese and the bricks as well as the final landscaping in the spring. The crane for last Wednesday’s work 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.
Fire Capt. Donald Zak said that several trees were removed from the section of the department property, a large amount of grading was completed and a decorative stone wall constructed as part of the project, which all hope will be completed this coming spring.
When finished, Zak said the brick memorial will be surrounded by benches and the three flag poles. 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.
“Everyone is pitching in to help,” Zak said.
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 polarengraving.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.