Five years after the North was victorious over the South in the United States Civil War, Jonathan Reed Gurney and his family in Freetown decided to open up a sawmill. Six generations later, that sawmill off of Chace Road is still making it happen.

It appears the family isn't just getting by, either. They have established one of the finest sawmills in all of Massachusetts. According to the Gurney's Saw Mill Facebook page, the saw mill's president, Paul Darling, was honored with the 2020 Douglas B. Cook Wood Producer of the Year Award.

The award acknowledges the Gurney Saw Mill's 150th anniversary, and the fact that it is a sixth-generation family business, calling it "a truly remarkable achievement for any business."

Gurney's Saw Mill Inc. via Facebook
Gurney's Saw Mill Inc. via Facebook

The Massachusetts Forest Alliance also credits Paul Darling's leadership for growing and expanding the Gurney Saw Mill, praising the Freetown business as "a critically important part of the forest economy in Southeastern Massachusetts."

The Alliance also awarded the 2020 Howard F. Mason Forester of the Year Award to Plymouth's Joe Perry. Perry is a Department of Conservation and Recreation service forester. Perry works with landowners and timber harvesters to make sure trees are harvested and replaced at proper rates. Perry is also is avid about sharing his conservation knowledge with local youth.

As we battle through these tough days of COVID-19 and chip away one day at a time at the year 2020, Fun 107 is committed to spotlighting positive stories like this whenever possible. If you have an idea for a positive story that highlights a community on the SouthCoast, please send an email to

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