MWCC to salute ex-fire chief.
Alfred E. LeBlanc, former chief of the Leominster Fire Department and a leader in firefighter training in Massachusetts will be honored as Mount Wachusett Community College's 2012 Alumnus of the Year at the college's 47th commencement ceremony on May 17.
Mr. LeBlanc, a Leominster native, graduated in 1980 with an associate's degree in fire science technology and earned a bachelor's degree in fire administration from Empire State College in 1986.
He has been a member of MWCC's Fire Science Advisory Board since 1998. With his leadership and the support of college officials, the fire science technology degree program was revitalized last year when it was aligned with the National Fire Academy's Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education program. Through these efforts, MWCC was recently recognized as one of four institutions in the country to be officially accepted into the FESHE Institutional Recognition and Certificate Program.
"We are proud to honor Fred LeBlanc as our 2012 Alumnus of the Year," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. "Like many of our students, Fred came to Mount Wachusett as an adult learner, balancing work, family life and academic studies, then continued on to achieve tremendous success both academically and professionally. His determination to reach his goals, and to help other students and professionals in the field of firefighting and public safety, truly serves as an inspiration to all of our students."
"I am very humbled and quite honored that people would recognize my achievements," Mr. LeBlanc said. "Firefighters have a tendency to not take credit for what they do. They tend to not want to be in that lime light, but I do feel honored and appreciate this."
Mr. LeBlanc originally enrolled at MWCC in 1974. He postponed his education in 1975 to enlist in the U.S. Army. After serving active duty for two years with the 8th Infantry Division in Germany, he re-enrolled in 1977.
Mr. LeBlanc joined the Leominster Fire Department in 1979. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1983, to deputy chief in 1988, and to chief in 2003 before retiring in 2006. In the late 1980s, he began teaching at area colleges and in 1990 as an instructor for the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in Stow.
He continues to serve as an instructor and program coordinator for the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy and as a consultant for MWCC's Fire Science Technology program. He also has taught for the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md.
Mr. LeBlanc and his wife, Lisa, who earned her nursing degree from MWCC, live in Belchertown. They have two children, Jason, a lieutenant in the Leominster Fire Department, and Abbie, a teacher in Hadley.
Nichole Rota and Joseph Gale, both of Leominster, will be one of 50 students from Stonehill College in Easton working with faculty members at the college this summer on research projects through the Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience program. The SURE program provides students with an opportunity to perform significant, publishable research under the guidance of an experienced faculty researcher.
Ms. Rota, a sophomore biology major, along with three other students, will work with professor Brownyn Bleakley, assistant professor of biology, on a project, "Indirect Genetic Effects on Behavior."
Mr. Gale, a junior history major, along with one other student, will work with James Wadsworth, associate professor of history, on "A Circle of Hands."
Katherine Helmer of Lunenburg, an eighth-grader at Applewild School in Fitchburg, has advanced to the national level of the History Day competition. Kathleen and her project partner, Michaela Nickerson of Harvard, competed in the state level competition on March 30 at Stoneham High School and won second-place for their documentary, "Miss Independence vs. Miss America: The Revolution of an Ideal and the Reform of an Icon." The national competition will be held in June at the University of Maryland.
Samuel Buck and Olivia Papakyrikos of Fitchburg, and Mikayla Martinez of Leominster received honors for the winter 2012 term at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham.
Christopher Benoit will celebrate the expansion and relocation of his business, NuBodi Massage, with an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. April 26 at 20 Mill St., Fitchburg, and a ribbon cutting at 6:30 p.m. with Mayor Lisa A. Wong. The event includes free chair massages.
CUTLINE: (1) A BLANKET WITH AP-PEAL - The residents of Sunrise Assisted Living in Leominster made an apple-print fleece blanket, which will be a raffle item at the upcoming 11th Annual Sholan Farms Apple Blossom Festival on May 5. From left, Raffle Chairwoman Roz Navaroli, Skaidrite Stegers, Lydia Arsenault, Millie Hirst and Festival Co-Chair Peggy Christoforo. (2) Mr. LeBlanc
PHOTOG: (1) SUBMITTED PHOTO