Artwork presented to Westfield Fire Department

Retired Lt. Col. Edwin M. Renkowicz presents the numbered print of painting to Dep. Chief Andrew Hart, as ANG members John Mitchell and Larry Buell observe. (Photo credit: Lynn Boscher)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) — A former Westfield resident and current Floridian donated a piece of art to the city’s fire department as a way of saying thanks.

The Westfield Fire Department received a copy of the painting titled “Remember 9-11” yesterday from Edwin Renkowicz, of St. Petersburg, Florida. The painting was originally done by St. Petersburg muralist John Comer, and the print presented to the Westfield Fire Department is one of a limited amount of commissioned pieces.

Retired Lt. Col. Edwin M. Renkowicz presents the numbered print of painting to Dep. Chief Andrew Hart, as ANG members John Mitchell and Larry Buell observe. (Photo credit: Lynn Boscher)
Retired Lt. Col. Edwin M. Renkowicz presents the numbered print of painting to Dep. Chief Andrew Hart, as ANG members John Mitchell and Larry Buell observe. (Photo credit: Lynn Boscher)

“It’s a very nice gesture for him to be thinking of us, even 15 years after 9-11 happened to think about that and to think about us,” Westfield Fire deputy chief Andy Hart, said.

Hart said that although there have been donations in the past to the department, it is an uncommon occurrence. He also said that the way that this occurred was rather quick and serendipitous.

“This all came about this week and nobody really knew about it,” Hart said. “He called us on Tuesday and I just happened to be working.”

Renkowicz, who is a retired Lieutenant Colonel of Barnes’ 104th Wing of the Air National Guard and a former Westfield resident, said that he simply felt compelled to give the piece of art to the department. He originally heard about the painting while participating in an art class at an independent living center in St. Petersburg, and Comer was teaching the class.

“I was coming back for winter break to visit family and I got the idea to buy the print and get it framed and present to the fire chief,” Renkowicz said modestly. “I just wanted to do something like that.”