More than four years in the making, Sherman's emergency services facility finally swung its doors open Dec. 8 to hundreds of receptive residents.

The occasion was the official ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house for the expanded and renovated firehouse along Route 39 North, right in the heart of town.

Following several years of missteps, work was ultimately completed this fall on the 17,000-square-foot firehouse expansion project.

A certificate of occupancy was issued in mid-November.

First Selectman Clay Cope made it clear in advance of Dec. 8's festivities that "this is not a political function. The day belongs to our firefighters and emergency personnel."

And indeed it did, and it belonged as well to the people of Sherman.

Several hundred residents braved bone-chilling weather for an upbeat event short on speeches and long on smiles.

Local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts handled the flag-raising with aplomb on the east side of the building and fire Chief Freddie Pitcher then served as master of ceremonies for a 10-minute ribbon-cutting ceremony at the west side entrance.

First Selectman Cope contributed to the occasion by reading charter members of the Sherman Volunteer Fire Depatment.

Longtime firefighters Emerson Osborn Jr. and Ken Johnson then teamed with third-generation firefighter Chad Beatty to stage the ribbon cutting.

Moments later, the many curious and appreciative residents flocked indoors to check out the new facilty and enjoy a lunch catered by American Pie Company.

For more photos, visit www.newmilfordspectrum.com.

-- Norm Cummings

Photography by Norm Cummings