Springfield’s first African American firefighter honored at ceremony

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The late Leonard A. Corbin, Springfield’s first African American firefighter, was honored during a wreath-laying ceremony Thursday.

“Every year the fire department puts on more minorities as I understand and that’s very significant because my brother was a pioneer involved with this,” said Eddie Corbin, Leonard’s brother.

Fifty percent of Springfield’s fire department is currently made up of minority personnel.

Members of Corbin’s family attended the ceremony along with Mayor Domenic Sarno and Fire Commissioner BJ Calvi. 

“I commend Commissioner Calvi on his initiative to honor ‘Lenny’ in conjunction and respect to Black History Month,” Sarno said. “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.”

Corbin has a monument in front of the Mason Square Fire Station that is engraved with his own quote, “I just wanted to be the best firefighter I could be.”

He served residents of Springfield for 32 years at the Mason Square, East Springfield, Oakland Street, Sixteen Acres, and Forest Park fire stations.

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