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Eight Pittsfield firefighters were recognized for their promotions as captains and lieutenants on Thursday at Taconic High School.

Pittsfield Fire Department Pins Captains, Lieutenants

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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Capt. James Ziter was pinned by his two sons — who are also members of the department — and his granddaughters. See more photos here.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A tradition was revived from pre-pandemic times on Thursday as members of the Fire Department were recognized for moving up the ladder.

Three captains and five lieutenants were pinned by friends and loved ones during a ceremony at Taconic High School. A new badge was placed on the men's class A Uniforms.

"It’s important to know that all of you have earned these promotions," Chief Thomas Sammons said. "You put the time in and made it happen. You should be proud."

The pinning ceremony has not happened since 2019 due to the pandemic. Many of the first-responders have been in their new positions for some time but the department wanted to mark the promotions, as they are a significant achievement.

"Studying for the promotion is no joke. It's hard work and you have to find the time and space that works for you so congratulations," Sammons said.

"I just wanted to remind you that this job comes at you fast sometimes and the more that you know about your position, the better the outcome you will have when there's pure chaos. A saying that I have always lived by is 'chance favors the prepared.' Take the extra time when it's quiet to learn all you can.  Teach young firefighters the craft of firefighting. Don't be afraid to share your knowledge with them and don’t be afraid to learn with them."

The chief also urged his crew members to talk with each other after a particularly bad call to make sure that everyone is OK.

"If you take care of them, they will take care of you," he said. "It's the best job and the most rewarding job there is, so cheers to you and to the wives and families that put up with you."

Lt. Christopher Bradley has been in the position for one year and said a firefighter has to study for at least a year to get promoted.

"It’s a lot of work, you study hard and take a test," he explained. "And so it's a big accomplishment. It means a lot to everybody that gets promoted."

Bradley "most definitely" aimed to become a lieutenant when he entered the department, he said. The position is responsible for first-line supervision of firefighters on assigned shifts responding to fire alarms, rescue operations, or emergency medical assistance calls.

Capt. James Ziter was pinned by his two sons — who are also members of the department — and his granddaughters.

His sons said it was a proud moment to be able to pin their dad, who was been working as a captain for about three years.

It is not uncommon for first-responder work to be generational for families in the city.

"A lot of them are in civil service one way or the other," Sammons said.

City Clerk Michele Benjamin swore in the captains and five lieutenants, the department honor guard presented the colors, and the Rev. Peter Gregory delivered the benediction.

PFD members honored in the ceremony:

  • Capt. Kenneth Arnhold (Not Pictured)
  • Capt. James Ziter
  • Capt. James Heath
  • Capt. Timothy Conroy
  • Lt. Edward Hughes
  • Lt. Adam Healey (Not Pictured)
  • Lt. Christopher Bradley
  • Lt. Jarrett Hoskeer (Not Pictured)
  • Lt. Max Lacasse
  • Lt. Shawn Leary
  • Lt. Kendrick Reese
  • Lt. Scott McGinnis (Not Pictured)

Tags: fire department,   pinning,   recognition event,   

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Construction Grant Changes No Longer Align with Berkshire Atheneum's Goals

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass — The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners has adjusted this round of its construction grant program, no longer aligning with the Berkshire Athenaeum's goals. 
This grant round is really no longer a renovation program, library Director Alex Reczkowski said during a trustees meeting last week.
Interested applicants need at least two locations that they would be interested in pursuing as possible libraries or locations, not just the current library, he said. Acceptance of the award is once every 30 years. 
Although the library has some physical upgrades to the building in its strategic plan, it does not have enough data for a bigger project than that, Reczkowski said. 
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