City celebrates with fireworks and an award

  • Members of the Poirier family receive the Fortin Family Award, which is given to families who volunteer for the Recreation Department, by members of the Fortin family and Greenfield Recreation Department Director Christy Moore, left, during the annual fireworks celebration Friday at Beacon Field. The award is in honor of Tina and Ken Fortin. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Hundreds of people gather at Beacon Field for the annual fireworks celebration Friday night in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Fireworks launch from Poets Seat Tower during the annual fireworks celebration Friday night in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 7/5/2019 11:23:58 PM

GREENFIELD — In honor of the family that helped bring the Fourth of July fireworks to town in the 1980s, the Fortin Family Award is given to families who volunteer for the Recreation Department. This year’s award — its 10th anniversary — was given to the Poirier family, of Greenfield, at the annual fireworks celebration Friday at Beacon Field.

Along with bands like She Said and the Greenfield Military Band, the Fortin Award was presented on stage to the Poirier family — Jeff and Teri and their children, Ben and Hannah.

Recreation Director Christy Moore presented the award, saying the Poiriers have been involved with the Recreation Department for the past 15 years.

“Ben and Hannah attended summer camp since they were 5, participated in sports programs, some of which Jeff coached after I begged him – thank you for that,” Moore said. “As Ben got older, he worked as a camp councilor at the same camp he attended as a child. He stopped this year to take an engineering internship with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.”

She said Hannah’s involvement in basketball, dressing up in costumes like her brother used to and even volunteering on Friday evenings to paint faces showed the family’s commitment to volunteering.

“And Teri, who dropped off goodies to us at events, too,” said Moore. “Both Jeff and Teri have instilled a sense of giving back to both their children and for this we appreciate and honor the Poirier family. Thank you.”

The Poiriers said they were honored to receive the award.

“We are most proud of the kids,” Jeff Poirier said. “She mentioned that I helped coach and I did. After Ben aged out of the sports, Christy would call me and ask me to coach because otherwise these teams would fold, and I would say, ‘yes.’”

Ben added that the Recreation Department “is our family.”

Hannah said she’s grateful to be a part of the Recreation Department’s group of volunteers because they are like family and she’s grown through her experiences volunteering.

“It’s not only because of the effort my parents have made to bring us to these places and have us participate in sports, but it means the world to me to be able to meet people I would never have met,” said Hannah Poirier.

Three of Tina and Ken Fortin’s five children were in attendance for the award, which they say is their parents’ legacy.

“They spearheaded getting the fireworks back to Greenfield,” Ken Fortin said. “When we see this award and this event — we see them and their work.”

Eileen Fortin added that she’s happy her parents’ legacy is recognized and promoting others to get involved.

“That’s what she wanted,” Eileen Fortin said of Tina Fortin. “She wanted people and their kids to get involved in this community, that was my mother’s goal.”

She added that volunteerism helps people and the Recreation Department appreciates it.

The Poirier’s received a wood carving of Poet’s Seat Tower created by Rick Roy of Pioneer Valley Wood Art in Greenfield.

Roy said he’s been making the award for five years and the image has changed from an oak tree to Poet’s Seat Tower. The plaque is individualized for the family with the recipients’ last name carved into the award as well as the year.

A community event

Folks in attendance at the fireworks said they came for various reasons, but most of all for the main event – the fireworks.

Sue and Lennie Weeks said they came with four generations of their family.

“We’ve been going pretty much our whole lives,” Lennie Weeks said. “I think it’s like going to the beach but better.”

His wife added that she thought it was the most beautiful thing she’s seen.

“It’s the biggest event of the year for the town,” Sue Weeks said. “It’s good, clean fun. You get a real sense of community being here, with people coming to see each other.”




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