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Benefit night will assist Plymouth firefighter battling ALS – Wicked Local

PLYMOUTH — Dale Melanson spent his life giving service to his country and his community. Now it is time for others to give back.
The town is rallying around the recently retired firefighter as he now faces a difficult medical diagnosis.
An Air Force veteran who retired from his job at the Pinehills fire station earlier this year, Melanson is battling a complicated form of a devastating disease.
After extensive testing of troubling symptoms, Melanson was recently diagnosed with amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease, as well as frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), a progressive brain disease. ALS became known as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the star baseball player was diagnosed in 1939.
Friends have started an online campaign to help the family care for Melanson with the dignity he deserves as he battles the disease.  A gofundme.com campaign at https://www.gofundme.com/f/dale-melanson-deserves-better has already raised more than $24,000.
Local firefighters have also pledged $5,000 to help their brother and have organized “Fight for Dale” hat drives among fire departments north and south of town to help defray the family’s medical expenses.
Friends and colleagues  scheduled a benefit event next month to help the Melansons. The public is invited to join Dale and his wife, Colleen, for a night of raffles, music, food and fun from 5 to 11 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11, at the John Alden Sportsmen’s Club at 16 Minuteman Lane in Manomet.
Melanson graduated from Duxbury schools in 1983 and then joined the Air Force. He continued his military career with the Air National Guard as a member of the 102nd Civil Engineer Squadron until he retired in 2014.
Dale and Colleen have been married for 30 years and have two adult sons, Brenden and Andrew.
Melanson started working as a firefighter in 2004. He was assigned to the West Plymouth station for much of his career and was working from Station 3 in The Pinehills when his medical issues surfaced. He most recently had been on medical leave and was forced to take early retirement last spring.
Melanson’s “last bell” ceremony was June 7. He will be officially recognized with other retirees at the department’s Fireman’s Ball Nov. 4.
Katy Dory, a longtime family friend who helped  organize the fundraisers, said many people and businesses have stepped up to help the Melansons with donations of money as well as goods and services for raffle prizes.
 Notably, IBEW Local 104, Melanson’s sons’ labor union, donated $1,004. Also, three Jakes Screenprinting & Embroidery, a local firefighter-owned business in Plymouth, donated 100 T-shirts with a custom logo.
Plymouth Charters donated a six-hour fishing charter valued at $1,000, the John Alden Club donated the venue and Dillon’s Local, Anna’s Harborside Grille, Mayflower Provisions, Rose & Vicki’s and Market Basket donated food.
Tickets for the Nov. 11 event will be available at the door. The cost is $25 and checks should be made payable to “Fight for Dale.”


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