© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ceremony Honors Springfield's First Black Firefighter

As part of Black History Month, a ceremony honored the first African American to join the fire department in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

When Leonard Corbin began what would be a 32-year firefighting career in the summer of 1969 it was a time of racial strife in Springfield, and across the country.  He kept a positive attitude through it all, according to his brother Eddie Corbin.

" He was a role model for other people to follow which the family is extremely proud about that," said Corbin.

A wreath-laying was held at the permanent memorial honoring Corbin outside the Mason Square Fire Station.  

The memorial that consists of a granite stone with two bronze plaques was dedicated in 2009, a year after Corbin died at the age of 62.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.