RUMFORD — For more than a century, canes have been presented by New England towns to the oldest survivor in those towns, as a sign of respect. At 96, Joseph Buccina is the oldest citizen in Rumford. As such, he was presented the Boston Post Cane at the start of the Board of Selectmen’s meeting Thursday, with four generations of the Buccina family present.

Board Chairman Chris Brennick presented Buccina with the cane and a certificate. The cane will remain with the town, with Buccina’s name place on a plaque in the Town Hall.

Buccina was born on Aug. 15, 1922, in Mexico. He served four years in the Army, and participated in the the Guadalcanal Campaign in the Pacific during World War II. Buccina attained the rank of staff sergeant.

Buccina worked for 59 years in the paper industry, retiring at age 76. He said his wife, Olga, served good pasta. They were married for nearly 70 years before Olga died a couple years ago. Over the years, Buccina grew gardens and ate lots of vegetables. He said a secret to a long life is “to have confidence in what you’re doing.” Buccina lives at his home on Maine Avenue with a caregiver.

In other business, selectmen approved a bid to do the Hosmer Field lighting project, with an additional work estimate. The winning low bidder was Utility Services & Assistance, Inc. of Hookset, New Hampshire. Marcus Palmer, superintendent of the Rumford Parks Department, explained that the $290,514 bid includes an extra $12,680 for additional LED lighting halfway down the four poles for use of walkers using the track in the evening.

He said the work, which will be completed by June, replaces existing lighting for the football field (six poles, 36 lights) with LED light fixtures (four poles, 26 lights). On Friday, Palmer said they will soon go out to bid for the track that goes around the football. That work is expected to be completed by the end of August. This replaces the existing track, built 35 to 40 years ago, using the existing footprint and keeping the same elevation.

Other work in the complex includes rehabilitating the Swift River Walking Trail and extending it to Route 2; and improving or replacing existing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access to the facility.

The total project cost is $440,619, which includes a $192,000 federal grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Palmer said the $248,619 local match is a combination of funds accrued in a capital improvement account from the Rumford Parks Department and in-kind work by Public Works.

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Joseph Buccina, 96, was presented with the Boston Post Cane Thursday evening by Chris Brennick, left, chairman of the Rumford Board of Selectmen. (Rumford Falls Times photo by Bruce Farrin)

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