Heroes come and go but they live in our hearts forever. The town of Great Barrington is dealing with a loss while keeping the memories of one of their leaders alive.

On Monday, the town lowered flags to half-mast in honor of retired Fire Chief Harry Jennings, who died yesterday morning.

Harry Jennings, the former leader of the town's fire department and its firefighters, served the department for 38 years, from 1974-2012. He was its chief from 2001-2012. He retired due to health issues.

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Fire Chief Burger made the following statement:

Chief Jennings was a talented incident commander, tireless advocate for the department and community, and great friend to all our firefighters. His biggest achievements as chief were overseeing the construction of a new first station designed to serve the town for 50-100 years, advocating for the best training for Berkshire County, building a solid fire prevention program, and developing the next generation of firefighters. Chief Jennings will be missed but his legacy will live on. Great Barrington was blessed to have him.


In a Berkshire Eagle article in 2007, on the eve of a town meeting to approve the long-awaited $9 million fire station project, Jennings told a reporter he'd be standing at the meeting to see if three of every four voters would support the project. He was reminded that just a two-thirds majority vote was needed, so getting two of three voters on board would suffice.

"It makes me feel better my way," he said.

Town Manager Mark Pruhenski, who served as a volunteer firefighter with Jennings around that time, said the follwoing:

Harry was a big-hearted fire chief and town resident, and he was truly devoted to our community. He was determined not to retire until the town approved and constructed a new, 21st century fire station on State Road. For that legacy and so much more, the town will always be grateful. We wish the Jennings family comfort and sympathy during this time of loss.

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