Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Fire Commissioner BJ Calvi held a ceremony today at the Mason Square Fire Station to remember Springfield’s first African-American firefighter, the late Leonard A. Corbin. They were joined by members of the Corbin family for this ceremonial bell tolling and wreath laying. Today, Mr. Corbin's birthday, marks the second year in a row the now annual ceremony was held in his remembrance and in celebration of Black History Month.
Mayor Sarno stated, “I commend Commissioner Calvi on his initiative to honor ‘Lenny’ in conjunction and respect to Black History Month. 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 his brave legacy of professionalism live on forever.”
“I though it is important to honor Lenny Corbin, who was the city’s first African-American firefighter, and opened the door for so many others,” said Commissioner Calvi.
In October of 2009, the city unveiled a monument in the front of the Mason Square Fire Station that honors Corbin and 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.