|By Chris Maza
Paul L. Federici, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Selectman Debra A. Boronski, Selectman Angela Thorpe, Sheila Osgood’s niece Dolly Nicoli, Nicoli’s son Rick Bartels and daughter Sheila Fredette pose with a photo of Osgood with the town seal.
Reminder Publications submitted photo
EAST LONGMEADOW – At its July 23 meeting, the Board of Selectmen posthumously honored the woman who designed the town’s seal.
Sheila Osgood, who passed away in 2007, was immortalized in the form of a new sign for the Redstone Rail Trail that outlines her work with the town as well as her personal history and other talents.
Dolly Nicoli, Osgood’s niece, was among those who spearheaded the effort to have a sign placed among the other signs and historical photographs that line the path.
“We see the town seal everywhere, but who designed it?” Nicoli said. “I walk the East Longmeadow [Rail Trail] and I see my uncle there because he used to work at the Grange Store and I see other people’s pictures and there’s the town seal and I thought, ‘My aunt’s picture should be there because she designed it.’
“Sheila would be so proud if she knew her picture was at the beginning of the walking trail,” she added.
Board of Selectmen Chair Paul Federici commended Nicoli for her efforts.
“It’s very nice that you pursued honoring your aunt this way. Somebody may have let it fall to the wayside, if you will, but you pursued it and now she’s going to be remembered forever,” he said.
Osgood, who was a professional artist, designed the seal as part of a contest sponsored by former Town Clerk Richard Clark during the town’s centennial celebration in 1993.
“She didn’t just draw it; she looked into the history of East Longmeadow. I remember when she was doing it she was so excited by it,” Nicoli said.
Born in Springfield in 1927, she lived in the area until she was 27 when she married and moved to Georgia. After years living outside of New England, Osgood returned to Western Massachusetts, moving to East Longmeadow in 1984 and residing there until her death.
Nicoli characterized her aunt as a talented woman who was active in the community. As a singer and dancer as well as an artist, she performed regularly at the senior center and the Jewish Community Center. She also participated in the Golden Girls of East Longmeadow Pageant in 1996 and the Ms. Senior Massachusetts competition.
In other town business, Fire Chief Paul Morrissette was allowed by the selectmen to move forward with the sale of Engine 1 from his department’s fleet by declaring it surplus property.
Morrissette explained that the repairs for the vehicle necessary to keep it in working order and acceptable by Department of Transportation inspection regulations surpassed the department’s budget allocation. He said he received estimates ranging from $2,000 to $18,000.
“It has been considered a spare for the past several years. It’s only responded to brush fires for the most part,” he said. “It’s my opinion that it’s not a necessary truck for the fleet and for our firefighting. To spend that kind of money on a spare piece of equipment, I think it’s throwing good money to bad.”
While Engine 1, which was built in 1982 and refurbished in the mid-1990s, was the primary brush fire vehicle, Morrissette said two other engines in the fleet have been equipped with hoses used to deal with those calls. He admitted that those vehicles are not equipped to travel deep into woods and in those situations, the department calls upon assistance from Hampden, a scenario that has only occurred two or three times since 1991.
“It’s not a piece of equipment East Longmeadow needs to buy or needs to have in its fleet,” Morrissette said.
He went on to say that the engine would most likely not be useful for other fire departments due to the amount of work that needs to be done and the last engine sold by the town was done so for $1,800 for scrap metal.
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