By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough-The holiday season had a special meaning for several Marlborough firefighters as they delivered ham dinners to 20 of the city’s low-income families – just in time for Christmas. They had brought turkey dinners to families in need at Thanksgiving and thought it would be helpful to repeat the gesture.
“Seeing the joy on their faces was very nice. They were so grateful and how they showed it was so rewarding,” said Bob Dolan, who chaired the project. “Some invited us in for coffee, others gave us hugs.”
“We have decided to do it every year,” he said, adding the event to the list of other local and area charities they support.
Helping Marlborough Firefighters Local 1714 IAFF designate families who would benefit from receiving the food were Patty Zilembo, director of Country Village in Marlborough; Carol Callahan of Northeast Veterans Outreach Center in Marlborough; and members of the local Junior Woman’s Club.
An added benefit for Dolan was having his twin grandsons, age 12, help shop for the ham, vegetables, potatoes, desserts and other food items. They learned first-hand how to help those in need and they thoroughly enjoyed it, he said.
Dolan and fellow firefighter Bill Taylor said this was a more direct way of helping people in the community. It is the nature of their job to help people, usually in emergency situations,
“This is helping in a more casual way,” said Dolan. “That’s what we do – help people and we like doing it.”
Over the past year, the firefighters contributed $25,000 to the Muscular Dystrophy Association with monies raised from the voluntary Toll Road event and the annual golf tournament. They also contribute regularly to many other local charities, including youth and high school sports, civic fundraisers, and scholarships to students.