SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – On Friday at the Mason Square Fire station, a wreath was placed at the Leonard Corbin Memorial honoring Springfield’s first African American firefighter who served the city for more than 30 years.
Springfield Fire Commissioner Calvi told 22News, “Since that day, we’re now a 56 percent majority minority department. We have African American, Hispanic, we have Asian Americans, women, we are a fully diversified department.”
It’s an emotional experience for the family. Leonard’s brother Eddie Corbin experienced the strain along with other members of the family remembering Leonard as a pioneer.
“He absolutely did that. and he was glad that he did it. He was always rewarded for doing that. Yes, it’s a great day for us,” said Corbin.
Mayor Domenic Sarno has each year likened Leonard Corbin to another pioneer, the man who became the first African American to play Major League Baseball, “Thank you for being the Jackie Robinson of our Springfield Fire Department. God bless you.”
A fitting Black history tribute to a true pioneer still having a profound effect on the fire department he was so proud to serve.