By: Mark N.
This was in one of the local papers today. I have known Mr. Lancing for years. Steadfast servant to the community, and just an all around nice guy who will take care of you the best that he knows how. And the new breed of Marines stepped up and took care of him.
LEOMINSTER — James Lancing thought he may never get the uniform.
The at-large city councilor served in the Marines during the Korean War, but he was never issued the Corps’ dress-blue uniform after his tour.
Lanciani said he considered approaching U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern to ask if he could help him get the formal outfit of the Marines.
But he never did.
“If it wasn’t meant to be, it wasn’t meant to be,” Lanciani said.
However, once the Leominster Fire Department got word that the councilor did not have the uniform and that it was something he felt was missing, the folks in the department made sure it was meant to be that Lanciani had the dress blues.
Deputy Chief Jeff Davis said that on a recent summer day, firefighters were gathered on the front bench outside the station when one of them mentioned that Lanciani did not have formal Marine wear and had an interest in getting it.
“The idea was born and the plan was set forward,” Davis said, adding that it took some work, “between researching what type of uniform, the medals Jimmy had on, where to buy it, what size he is and, most importantly, how to display it and how to present it.”
The Fire Department checked all the boxes off the idea Monday when they presented Lanciani with a framed uniform, bearing his Marine medals, in front of family, friends and local officials at the fire station.
As Lanciani was introduced and given the uniform, he fought back tears.
“I always prided myself, and still pride myself, as a proud Marine,” Lanciani said. “I can tell you I feel complimented and proud to be a United States Marine.”
Lt. Jonathan Campagna, a fellow Marine, presented Lanciani with the uniform. He said the councilor embodies the traits of a Marine: honor, courage and commitment.
“He served his community honorably, the same community that fostered the love of this country,” Campagna said. “We have been blessed to have him serve the city of Leominster as a council member for years. He has brought that first-to-fight mentality to the council’s chambers.”
Lanciani will step down from the City Council after his current term is up.
“It’s true that every Marine is proud to be a Marine,” Campagna said to Lanciani. “But Jim Lanciani, you are one of the few Marines that makes other Marines proud.”
Lanciani was given a standing ovation as he accepted the gift.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you and God bless you,” he said.
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