In the fall, when summer’s blooms have blown away, the dark green leaves of the October Glory maple explode into an array of orange and crimson.
The dedication of an October Glory, which took place on Arbor Day, April 30, seemed like a particularly fitting tribute to the late Peter Beauchemin—the man who brought summer fireworks back to Sandwich.
The tree was selected and planted by the Sandwich Tree and Landscape Advisory Committee last year. Friday’s ceremony—which had been delayed for a year by coronavirus restrictions—took place at the new public safety complex at Quaker Meetinghouse and Cotuit roads.
The tree was planted at the entrance to the new Sandwich Fire Department headquarters. Mr. Beauchemin was a firefighter for 32 years and became a selectman in 2015. In 2017, Mr. Beauchemin lost his long battle with bone cancer.
“He was my first lieutenant, and I went to school with his kids,” said Fire Chief John J. Burke, who, along with Police Chief Peter N. Wack, was among town officials who attended the Arbor Day ceremony. “I’m happy to have something on the property that will honor all his years of service.”
Mr. Beauchemin’s two daughters, and other members of the family who attended, said they were deeply touched by the memorial.
“He loved this town and would have been humbled by all this,” said daughter Nicole Prairie, of Sandwich. “The tree is perfect for him. He loved red.”
Selectman David J. Sampson said he still misses his former colleague.
“We had a special rapport and we looked out for each other,” Mr. Sampson said. “He was very determined to bring back the 4th of July fireworks and it is now a part of his legacy.”
Mr. Beauchemin’s nearly single-handed fundraising efforts toward reigniting the sky over Shawme Pond after a 30-year hiatus has resulted in spectacular displays every summer until COVID came along.
Sandwich’s July 4th fireworks displays, which are named in Mr. Beauchemin’s honor, are expected to continue as soon as coronavirus restrictions have lifted.
Meanwhile, however, the October Glory tree, which is still small, will provide a blaze of color—and memories—for passersby.
“It will be the first thing I see when I come to work and the last thing I see when I leave for the day,” Chief Burke said.
Forestdale School Celebrates Arbor Day
Second graders at Forestdale School took part, remotely, in a tree planting on Arbor Day last Friday.
Sandwich Department of Public Works staff planted an umbrella pine at the school’s front entrance Friday—a long-standing tree planting tradition that had tapered off and was resurrected by former Tree Warden Justin O’Connor several years ago.
Mr. O’Connor, who has been serving as acting tree warden this year, held a Zoom meeting with the 2nd graders last Friday.
He told them about the importance of trees, described some of the biggest trees in the world, and explained that more plantings are needed to clean the air and beautify the planet.
Saplings were expected to be distributed to the children this week.