Parade honors firefighters past, present
After walking in the Dartmouth Firefighter Memorial Parade, District No. 1 Capt. Peter Andrade received an unexpected honor: a merit badge, presented by his department.
It was in recognition of his actions on March 2, when he and a New Bedford police captain rescued a man from a submerged car in Clarks Cove during the height of a nor'easter. Andrade stressed it’s exactly what any one of his fellow firefighters would have done in his situation.
“I don't look for honor,” Andrade said following the presentation of the award. “It’s what we do, and any one of us would have done the same thing.”
The award was a complete surprise. District No. 1 Chief Brad Ellis said Andrade and the New Bedford officer had just been recognized by the Massachusetts American Legion, and Ellis wanted to come up with a way for the department to do the same.
It was the final event in the annual parade from the District No. 1 fire station to the South Dartmouth Cemetery, where the names of deceased members of the fire departments were read.
“It’s a way to honor the memory of our firefighters who have passed and keep them in our memories,” Ellis said.
It’s a smaller event than the town’s Memorial Day parade, held several weeks earlier. In fact, many who lined the streets were surprised to learn about the event.
“We heard it from the bedroom window,” said Glen Zimmermann, who was visiting friends in Padanaram as the march to the cemetery began. He found a large American flag to hold as the firefighters walked past, and got filled in on the parade’s history by a neighbor.
Others, like Paige Farias and Denise Andre, have been watching the parade for years. Both have family members in Fire District No. 2.