Local family provides memorial to firefighter father

By Dwight Collins | May 23, 2014
Photo by: Dwight Collins A new Indian tank bearing the name of former fire chief Cecil Dennison Sr. was purchased by Rockport Fire Department through a donation by his daughter Linda Greenlaw and son Cecil Dennison Jr.

Rockport — Upon hearing there was a need to acquire replacement Indian tanks used by the fire department, Town Clerk Linda Greenlaw saw an opportunity to do something in memory of her father.

Greenlaw's father, Cecil Dennison Sr., served as Rockport's fire chief from 1957 to 1963 and during his tenure purchased two town pumper trucks. In 1960 he acquired a 750 Ford truck with a 500-gallon water tank and in 1962 gained the department a Ford 700 truck with a 500-gallon water tank.

“He loved being a fireman and there is not much anyone can do to honor them after they are gone, so I thought that this would serve as a long-lasting memorial,” she said.

Indian tanks are used by firefighters to combat forest and woods fires and are carried like a backpack. One of new tanks bears a placard with a memorial to Dennison, which was purchased by Greenlaw's family and the family of her brother Cecil Dennison Jr.

“[Fire Chief] Jason [Peasley] mentioned at a meeting one day that the department needed to replace their Indian tanks and I knew that there wasn't any money in his budget to do it – so after the meeting I asked if he'd accept a donation for a tank in memory of my father – and he ran with it," Greenlaw said. “I buy flowers to remember him every year. ... This is something that will last a very long time.”

Peasley said he is extremely grateful to Greenlaw for the donation and is excited to see who else with connections to Rockport Fire Department will step-up and sponsor a tank.

“She [Linda] offered to make a donation to purchase a tank,” Peasley said. “Then she came up with the idea that if a citizen wanted to purchase a new Indian tank for the department, it could be done in memory of a loved one.

Currently, the fire department has 26 of the stainless steel and brass tanks, some of which are estimated to be at least 60 years old. Peasley said six tanks are no longer serviceable, with covers disintegrated beyond repair.

“To replace these with the stainless steel is somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 a piece,” he said. “These new poly tanks have received very high marks and are half the price.”

Polypropylene Indian tanks cost $180 each, he said.

“All of the old ones need to replaced eventually and both Linda and I thought this was a good way to let people connected to the fire department or fire service in general memorialize a loved one,” he said.”It's will be nice to see a pack on the back of a firefighter, going in to fight a brush or forest fire with the name of an honored love one on the back.”

Anyone who is interested in purchasing a memorial Indian tank can contact Chief Peasley by calling 236-4141.

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Dwight Collins
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
(207) 236-8511 ext. 303
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