Jackie Cannon ’20
In the early morning hours of Wednesday, November 13, 39-year-old Lt. Jason Menard died in a four-alarm fire after helping to save two other crew members. Menard was assigned to Ladder 5 at the McKeon Road Fire Station, which includes the College of the Holy Cross in its jurisdiction. Menard leaves behind his wife and three children.
As his funeral procession passed through the streets of Worcester on Monday, November 18, thousands of first responders and residents of Worcester lined the streets, including a gathering of Holy Cross community members as the base of McKeon Road. During the funeral, Menard’s family was presented with the Martin E. Pierce Commemorative Line-of-Duty Death Medal, which is the highest honor bestowed upon firefighters according to WCVB.
The Holy Cross community has stepped up to support the Menard family and the McKeon Road Station. In a letter to the campus community on November 16, Rev. Philip L. Boroughs S.J., president, shared that the December 15 mass collections will be donated to the Menard family and other families displaced by the fire. Donations can be brought to Campion at any time.
Additionally, Fr. Boroughs shared that several athletic teams will donate a portion of proceeds from ticket sales to the Menard Children’s fund, and Athletics has hung a banner in the Luth Athletic Complex for Holy Cross community members to sign. Fr. Boroughs also stated that “the College has pledged to cover tuition for Lt. Menard’s three children if they are admitted to Holy Cross.”
Over the course of the past week, U.S. and state flags have been lowered to half-staff on all state buildings across Massachusetts, per the order of Gov. Charlie Baker, who also attended Menard’s funeral on Monday.
Fr. Boroughs concluded his letter to the campus community by writing: “I know that you join me in prayers of peace for the Menard family and for our Worcester firefighters as they mourn their immense loss. We honor Lt. Menard for his selfless heroism, and we ask God to bless all of our first responders as they put their lives in harm’s way each day to keep our communities safe.”
Photo by David Niles/ Courtesy of MassLive