PEABODY — It’s a sight organizer Alison Reichert describes as “awesome” and “moving”: Peabody firefighters and their ladies, the men in dress uniforms, the women in gowns, performing the Grand March at the Peabody Firefighters Ball.
The ball is a tradition that goes back more than a century, to April 1893. It was stopped in the 1990s, said Reichert, fiancee of a retired firefighter. But it was revived in 2010 and will be continued this year in memory of colleague James Rice, who died battling a blaze on Hancock Street in December 2011. Rice attended the 2010 affair.
”It’s the first ball where he is not going to be there,” Reichert said. “And we want to honor him. We think it’s a good thing to do for him and his family.” Some money raised via the ball, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Oct. 18 at Spinelli’s on Route 1, goes to the James Rice Memorial Fund.
Attendance isn’t open to the general public; it’s limited to those in public service, firefighters, police and ambulance workers. But the public is invited to make donations to the Memorial Fund for Rice, who was 42 and an 11-year department veteran. He left behind a wife and three children.
”People are very excited,” said Reichert, who hopes to see the ball continued biennially.
”These past couple of years were very difficult for our firefighters,” adds Cathie Daly, another organizer, in a press release. “We want to bring something positive after such a tragedy.”
The ball is sponsored by donations from the community. Information is available at 978-815-1457.
Don’t I know you?
The quick capture of the woman who police say robbed Eastern Bank last month was explained by Deputy Chief Marty Cohan. After the woman’s photo was widely circulated, including in The Salem News, a tip came from a relative who recognized the suspect. And why would a relative turn in a member of their own family? Because, Cohan said, by the time such people are driven to rob banks they’ve often already robbed all their relatives.