Alan Zambarano, who is now 83 and began his storied career with the Johnston Fire Department as a volunteer back when he was just 14, stood underneath Saturday’s sparkling sun, issuing a heart-warming sincere statement to Jerry St. Angelo “for making my dream come true!”
“If it wasn’t for this man,” Zambarano, who is now retired and worked his way through the ranks to JFD Chief and became a full-time firefighter at age 23, began: “We would not be standing here today in front of this great memorial for all deceased Johnston firefighters if Jerry didn’t take on this project!”
Moreover, as Zambarano wanted it known amid another thank you: “The work Jerry did here actually enhances the entire area.”
That area, which is now known as Johnston Hose Company No. 1 Fireman’s Memorial Square, is located at the intersection of Plainfield and School Streets near the ageless Thornton Elementary School.
There’s a new flag pole, specially made sign, an ageless plaque on the monument rock as well as a total upgrading of the square by “Team Jerry” who is no stranger to beautify areas in Johnston with the help of other volunteers and donations from companies like the Corsinetti Brothers owned and operated Hartford Paving and Materials who supplied bricks and pavers for the project.
St. Angelo, as Zambarano and others will attest: “Has never ever refused anyone or to donate his time and talents for a community project that will enhance areas in Johnston such as the JHS Athletic Walk of Fame just outside the entrance to the Edward L. DeSimone Gymnasium.”
Back when the late Gary Mazzie was the Athletic Director at JHS, St. Angelo stepped up to the plate and in his spare time constructed the Walk of Fame that was a fund-raising project for the Panthers coveted Hall.
“And the guy is a Falcon, not a Panther,” people mused back then about St. Angelo, who is a Cranston High West grad and married to Melissa who works for the Johnston Recreation Department and went to JHS as did the couple’s children.
When asked how the Fireman’s Square upgrade began, Zambrano said he talked with Mayor Joseph Polisena who wholeheartedly endorsed the project proposed by Zambarano then asked St. Angelo for his help.
Thus, before long the area got a much-needed facelift that includes clearing away overgrown bushes, etc., excavation and the laying of concrete and decorative paves.
“It’s now a showpiece and we have Jerry to thank for that,” said Zambarano. “Again, I can’t thank him enough for all his work and for everyone who pumped new life brought into this wonderful fireman’s memorial.”
Meanwhile, St. Angelo added: “This was a community project everyone can be proud of; special thanks to Mayor Polisena, John Ermaian of Ermaian Signs, Donald Del Signore and Bob Parker of the DPW, Tom Pingitore and Andrew Zalisk … this is another example that we will never forget our firefighters, past and present!”
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