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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
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Berkshire Profile: Sgt. James Burdick

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Sunday, March 26, 2006

City police Sgt. James Burdick
Welcome to Berkshire Profile, an iberkshires weekly feature appearing on Sunday. Each week, iberkshires will highlight a Berkshires resident whose actions contribute to the Berkshires way of life.

North Adams - City police Sgt. James Burdick knows the value of sharing.

Share And Share Alike

Burdick is the family's "middle child," born with three older brothers and followed by three younger sisters. The family lived "on River Street extension, or Mass. Ave. extension, depending on who you asked," Burdick said during a March 25 interview.

Sharing was a way of life, he said.

"We had one bicycle," Burdick said. "My three older brothers and me, we all learned to ride on the same bicycle."

Burdick and his brothers may have been at the forefront of modern-day "job sharing."

"My older brother got a paper route," Burdick said. "The paper route was passed down to the younger brothers. We didn't just deliver papers; in the winter, we'd deliver the papers and shovel driveways."

Snowy weather generated a bit of a financial boon in those days, Burdick said.

"If you shoveled most of the driveways, you came home happy," Burdick said.

Snow-Bored

Now approaching his 46th birthday, Burdick said that the New England winter weather has lost its' appeal. Winters spent basking in the warm Florida sunshine would be more to his liking, he said.

"I get tired of shoveling snow, plowing snow, snowblowing; I could be a snowbird and spend winters in Florida," Burdick said. "I could come to North Adams for the summers."

Burdick recently returned from a trip to Florida, where several employment opportunities presented themselves. He was interested in investigating the jobs, but his wife Cindy has no desire to leave the city, he said.

Remembering Dates

And a healthy, happy marriage is important to Burdick, who presents his wife with a gift on the March anniversary of their first date.

Jim Burdick and Cindy Carsno were high school seniors when they began dating in 1978, Burdick said.

"I took her to Brannings," Burdick said. "We bowled, and shot pool and played pinball. I always get her a little something on that date. This year, it's 28 years since our first date."

The couple will celebrate 20 years of marriage on June 21, Burdick said.

Burdick is a graduate of the Charles H. McCann Technical High School electricity program. He did not become a police officer immediately after high school graduation. Burdick's first post-high school employment was as a maintenance supervisor for a local property management firm. He joined the city police department in 1982 as a patrolman.

"An Excellent Education"

Burdick attended the former Johnson elementary school, the Greylock elementary school, and Brayton junior high school. He and his two daughters "shared" some of the same teachers, he noted.

"One of the teachers that I had in kindergarten was Lynn Riley," Burdick said. "And she taught both of my daughters. My daughters loved her, and I would say she's one of the teachers that had a strong influence on my life. I've always felt that I got an excellent education at city schools."

Burdick's oldest daughter Jamie is a 2004 graduate of McCann school, while youngest daughter Stephanie is a member of the Drury High School Class of 2006, he said.

Both girls did very well within the city's schools, he said.

Stephanie Burdick applied to seven colleges, and all seven schools accepted her as a first-year student, Burdick said.

She has narrowed the field to two schools and is deciding which to attend, Burdick said.

"Dad"

His wife is "a dedicated homemaker," Burdick said, and added that taking care of a home and children qualifies as a "job."

"I never had to worry about my kids being 'latch-key kids,'" Burdick said. "And a lot of kids came to our house. I have two daughters but there are about 20 kids who call me 'dad.' I think I may have been the only positive male role model some of these kids have."

Burdick enjoys fishing the region's rivers and brooks and is an avid coin collector. He is a partner in the "Sanford and Kid" salvage business with retired city police Officer Tim Randall.

Nine Years From Now....

When asked to describe an "ideal five-year vision," Burdick offered a few scenarios.

"Ideally? Ideally, I'll win the lottery -but that won't happen," he said with a chuckle. "Ideally, in five years, I'd be in Florida, but that won't happen, either."

It's a nine-year plan that Burdick hopes will work out for himself and his family, he said.

"Ideally, the job will go along smooth and I'll be able to retire at 55."

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.

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