The Middle Eastern country of Lebanon is a long way from the Hilltowns, but thanks to the internet, a bagel company and an enthusiastic young firefighter, firefighters in the capital area of Beirut are wearing gear donated by four local towns. And those who organized the donation are looking to send over even more.
“We’re still trying to get more gear over there,” said recently retired Goshen firefighter Bob Labrie.
The young firefighter that started the effort is River de la Vida Williams, 20, a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and member of the Cummington and Goshen fire departments.
“If you know River, you’re not surprised by his ambition,” Labrie said.
When Williams joined the Cummington Fire Department at age 17, Bernie Forgea, the fire chief at the time, announced his recruitment at a town meeting. At the time, Forgea mentioned that the department had gear that was more than 10 years old sitting in unopened boxes