Everyday Hometown Heroes

The alarm rang around 12:45 PM on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, for a structure fire at an electronics recycling plant at 89 Cross Street. Little did those responding know they were facing Holliston’s biggest fire in more than three and a half decades.

On August 8, 1984, lightning struck the State Lumber building at 132 Central St, sending aerosol and paint cans skyward. With the help of over a half dozen area fire departments, the fire was quelled but reduced to a pile of ashes.

Similarities abound between the two fires, with the acrid smoke of 89 Cross Street filling the air, being detected in area towns miles away. Just as with the 1984 fire, the St. Patrick’s Day blaze required the assistance of more than a half dozen area departments when a 3rd alarm was rung.

Dozens of factory workers stood by, watching the firefighters’ futile efforts to extinguish the blaze, realizing they would soon face unemployment. Firefighter’s spouses brought pizza to the scene as the day wore on, and area fire companies relieved local Jakes for several hours before they returned to work.

The conflagration resulted in no major injuries.  Tired firefighters returned home late to warmed up corned beef and cabbage dinners. Well-done lads and lassies!

A few days later, Sunday, March 22, Community Farm Advisory Board members were putting the finishing touches on the barn located at 34 Rogers Road.  For several days earlier in the week, advisory board member Jim Taralli had moved mountains of manure from the far reaches of the farm for a new “Victory Garden,” reminiscent of WWII efforts. Dennis Serocki had then harrowed the new quarter acre patch of land behind the greenhouse.

The plan, according to Chair Kris Westland, is to sow spring crops as quickly as possible for use at the food pantry. Future needs are unknown, but there is sure to be an uptick in those in need considering COVID19-related lay-offs. Deer-fencing will be up by the week’s end, and seeds will be planted in the greenhouse as well.

Meanwhile, on March 23, the Corona Virus forced the leadership at the Holliston Pantry Shelf to close its door–but not its operation. Fearing for their volunteers’ health, the powers that be quickly hatched a plan to deliver food to its 222-family-clientele.

“About 20 people were there when I arrived on Monday morning,” one client (who wished to remain anonymous) told the Reporter, “only to learn of the pantry’s closure.” Recent past president of the pantry, Steve Bradford said that although the pantry’s finances and food supply were being taxed, “We’re holding our own.”

A crew of six authorized volunteers now has the task of packaging and delivering daily parcels to those in need. Food items needed can be found on the pantry’s website:  Holliston Pantry Shelf

Holliston is blessed with citizens who answer the call when adversity strikes.

Bobby Blair

1 Comment

  1. Ben Clarkson on March 29, 2020 at 8:27 am

    I love this town…!

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