Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Fire Commissioner BJ Calvi, and members of the Corbin family attended a ceremonial bell tolling and wreath-placing ceremony today at the Leonard A. Corbin Memorial dedicated to Springfield’s first African-American Firefighter.
Mayor Sarno stated, “In conjunction with Springfield’s celebration of Black History Month, I am proud to join with Commissioner Calvi on his initiative to honor ‘Lenny’ with the ceremonial bell tolling and wreath-placing ceremony. I knew Lenny well. He was a great and humble gentleman and firefighter. He was a trailblazer – the Jackie Robinson of our SFD. May God rest his soul and may his brave legacy of professionalism live on forever.”
“Lenny Corbin was a true professional and exemplary firefighter. I thought it was important to honor Lenny Corbin, who was the city’s first African-American firefighter, and opened the door for so many others to follow after him,” said Commissioner Calvi. “The traditional Springfield Fire Department alarm code for an engine company returning home to the station was 4 bells followed by the number of the engine company returning to quarters. At the ceremony we will sound the code 4-8 for engine company number 8 from the Mason Square Fire Station, Leonard’s first station assignment to call home.”
In October of 2009, the city unveiled a monument in the front of the Mason Square Fire Station that honors Corbin. It is engraved with Corbin’s own quote, “I just wanted to be the best firefighter I could be.” Corbin grew up wanting to become a firefighter and accomplished his goal, serving the residents of the city for 32 years at the Mason Square, East Springfield, Oakland Street, Sixteen Acres and Forest Park fire stations.