By AMANDA PURCELL
MORRISTOWN — This year’s Fourth of July parade is taking on special significance for the members of the Morristown Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Squad.
The event was renamed in honor of longtime fellow firefighter and parade Chairman Stephen A. “Steve” Spilman.
Mr. Spilman died in September at the age of 64.
Fellow firefighters said Mr. Spilman was a “fixture” of the department’s annual parade.
“He was a big part of the whole community,” Fire Chief Kevin J. Crosby said Wednesday. “Every time you saw him he would always have a smile on his face. If he wasn’t working on the parade, he would work at Bingo on Thursday nights.”
Mr. Spilman served as the Fourth of July Parade chairman for over 35 years. Mr. Spilman received his 40 years of service award in January 2013. He served as Bingo captain for over 40 years.
He was named Morristown firefighter of the year in 1982 and 1997 and also was the recipient of the Morristown Fire Department Chiefs Award in 1998.
Christopher J. Sherwin served alongside Mr. Spilman as co-chair of the event for over five years.
“I think he enjoyed interacting with the people at the parade the most,” Mr. Sherwin said. “The parade has always brought people from the area back for the summer. He would get to visit with people he hadn’t seen in years. He was very outgoing and a comedian. He did a lot for his community and then some.”
The parade will be held Friday at 10 a.m. on Main Street.
Firefighters will be collecting donations on the street to offset the cost of the parade.
At dusk tonight, the town’s annual fireworks display will be shot off behind the fire station.
As the department’s major annual fundraiser, money raised will be used to purchase fire and rescue equipment.
“Without these organizations and everyone’s donations towards the fireworks, the fire department would not be able to shoot these fireworks off every year,” Mr. Crosby said. “We thank these people for helping us keep the fireworks alive and letting the public enjoy a great show.”
After the parade, there will be a chicken barbecue, children’s games, a fire department concession stand serving hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage, French fries, cotton candy, snow cones, bread dough and ice-cold beverages.
The will be an antique tractor pull, games of chance and a 50/50 raffle.
The fireworks are sponsored by the following businesses and organizations: the village and town of Morristown, the Morristown Fire Department Auxiliary, Morristown Fuel & Supply, Riverview Mechanicals, Mike Ditta, Citizens Telephone Company, Phillips Insurance Company, Witherhead Professional Services, IslandView Funeral Services, Jreck Subs, Frank Crosby Farms, Mike Faucher Farms, Valley Maple Construction, North Country Contractors, Bishop Construction, Shear Image, St. Lawrence River Reality LLC., St. Lawrence Federal Credit Union, Pepsi-Cola Ogdensburg Bottlers, Joe Meyer Construction, Northeast Mechanicals, Ferguson Waterworks, Stout’s Ready Mix, Langbrook Clubhouse and Langbrook Golf Course.