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March 20, 2014

Ernie DiBurro helps keep city strong

It isn’t very often I get to applaud a city servant for a job well done.

In this case, Ernie DiBurro would rather be sitting in a dentist’s chair getting a root canal than having some columnist echo his accolades. Humility is his trademark and he’d rather keep it that way.

But when I heard that once again he stepped forward to donate $115,000 for a refurbished fitness center at Haverhill High, how can you keep that quiet?

All it took was one look during a basketball game and DiBurro was convinced.

“You don’t have to give me a sales pitch,” he told Athletic Director Tom O’Brien.

You could also acknowledge the 50 years he’s been in business at Academy Lanes, giving people all over the city, state and New England a sound recreational center. I enjoy bowling there as much as I do at two other centers, Pilgrim Lanes and St. Joseph’s Bowling Center. We’re lucky to have three outlets in the city.

But what he’s done to promote handicapped awareness for children with disabilities cannot go unnoticed. The welcome mat is always out in front of his door.

The new contribution of $115,000 is meant to keep Haverhill sports competitive and give our athletes a way to represent our city under the best conditions possible.

DiBurro, an able and willing benefactor, has answered other calls.

It wasn’t that long ago that he dished out $100,000 to create a scholarship for athletes going on to study business in college.

If that wasn’t enough, he trumped that figure with another $100,000 to revamp the sports field across from the high school, from which he graduated in 1952. I’d like to think of him as a perpetual fountain of thrift that never stops giving, especially when it’s destined to give this city a shot in the arm.

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