Forum: Shame on you Matt Giglietti!
It is sad that we feel the responsibility to respond to Matt Giglietti’s letter of Jan. 3 about holiday lights on the tree on the Memorial Green in Woodbridge.
It is unfortunate that volunteers can be publicly criticized for not doing more by a town official who could have simply picked up the phone before January and called the chief.
Mr. Giglietti’s lack of understanding of the facts about an issue that he, as chairman of the Woodbridge Board of Finance should be aware of, is very concerning.
For the past five years, since moving into its present quarters at 100 Center Road, the Woodbridge Volunteer Fire Association members have installed lights, purchased by the town on the tree on the Memorial Green. The chief sent a purchase request for the lights on Nov. 15. The request was not approved until after the association meeting on Dec. 13.
In the meantime, the volunteers (remember, we are volunteers) spent the holiday season providing the following services — only to be criticized for not doing more by Matt Giglietti undoubtedly from the warmth of his house.
You be the judge. Your volunteer firefighters:
• Put up a public display of decorations at Fire Headquarters.
• Responded to the fire and its aftermath at the JCC (one of the largest fires in Woodbridge history).
• Treated residents of the Southbury Training School to a visit from Santa on the decorated firetruck.
• Visited the three town nursing homes with Santa and Mrs. Claus to cheer the residents.
• Delivered presents (purchased by its members) on two evenings to needy children in the town.
• Held an open house at the firehouse for children to visit and have photos taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
• Conducted over a dozen new-parent car seat installation instruction sessions.
• Continued to respond promptly to all fire and emergency calls on a regular basis.
• Put up the menorah (the same one which has been used in the past) for the beginning of Hanukkah on Dec. 24, and Jewish members blessed it before lighting it each day as has been the tradition.
We do, in fact, make advance plans, as Mr. Giglietti indicates in his letter about the Truck or Treat event, raising the funds to provide a safe environment for children to celebrate Halloween, and we are proud of it. Our members spend a significant amount of time volunteering for the town, its events and agencies.
Despite inquiries, no one told the volunteers why the purchase order was delayed, whether it was for fiscal, religious or other reasons. It does take planning, considerable effort, and organization to install lights on a 35-foot tall tree (we secured the use of a boom truck because the town no longer has a ladder truck for firehouse decorations and possible tree decoration, but had to return it before approval of the purchase order).
Mr. Giglietti would lead you to believe that “it’s not that difficult a task” to install lights on a 35-foot tall tree, but it does take much planning, organization and volunteer labor to accomplish. The tardiness of the approval process did not leave enough time to accomplish it this year.
The WVFA remains willing — when given appropriate support — to undertake such tasks. Mr. Giglietti should carefully review the facts with the appropriate parties before making such blanket statements. Implying that volunteers are not volunteering, without checking the facts, does a disservice to everyone.