From 8 to 89: Looking back at Johnston’s Local 1950 Firefighters Union


Back on March 16, 1970, eight men founded and signed Local 1950’s first-ever contract with the Town of Johnston.

Since then, the Johnston Association of Firefighters Local 1950, which is under the International Association of Firefighters, has grown from eight charter members into a union representing 89 men and women.

“Johnston Fire is not a place where these members just head to work but a brotherhood that grows stronger each day,” said Local 1950 Secretary-Treasurer David Pingitore.

Local 1950, in fact, is recognized as perhaps one of the most giving and generous Locals in Rhode Island and prides itself in giving back to the community by sponsoring many Johnston youth sports and civic organizations as well as its annual and ongoing record-breaking Toys for Tots program with the United States Marine Corps.

Although Local 1950 celebrated its 52nd year back in December, past and present members of the Johnston Association of Firefighters and their families celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first-ever contract signing during a gala party at famed Twin Oaks Restaurant in Cranston.

It was a historic happening filled with many memories from over the last half-century (the event was delayed during the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic). The night featured Johnston firefighters from all generations.

The party was coordinated by current Local 1950 Board Member and Firefighter Chris DelFino, and included special presentations to charter members President Clayton Quick, Stanley Heywood, John Feeley, Leo Larkin, Alfred Masciarelli, Joseph Green, Rakhine Lemoi and Richard Zalabowski.

The party was not only to celebrate Local 1950’s first contract, but also 50 years of securing competitive wages, benefits and safe working conditions for Johnston Firefighters, according to organizers.

Each Local 1950 charter member received a framed enlargement of the original charter with the Town of Johnston and were toasted repeatedly throughout the night as “the great founding fathers of Johnston Firefighters and Local 1950.”

Likewise, retirees like Ken Felella, Tom Ricci and Arthur Moretti, just to name a few, recanted special stories of yesteryear and posed for photographs.

“This was an extraordinary evening and event,” declared many retired and current Local 1950 members. “It was a milestone for every Johnston Firefighter over the last 50 plus years.”

Thus, the current Local 1950 officers — President Keith Calci, Vice President Jon Pistacchio, Secretary-Treasurer David Pingigtore, Executive Board Chairman Sal Martira and Executive Board Members John Jasparro, Pat Brockway, Don Roberts and Chris DelFino — related: “The Majority of the Johnston Fire Department today wasn’t even born when these great men organized Local 1950.”


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