Full History

 HOPKINTON FT. JACKSON
FIRE DEPARTMENT
HOPKINTON N.Y.  

ESTABLISHED 1950 

BY
RON STREETER
2007 

WHO IS RON STREETER???

I was born locally and raised on a farm near Ft. Jackson. My father was a member of Nicholville Fire Dept for some time and I was drawn into the fire service by attending functions at their station.

In May of 1967 my application was accepted into the Hopkinton Ft. Jackson Fire Department. At that time Homer Jessmer II was the chief and Dick Daby was the secretary. I have worked with these men for forty years and have always been able to rely on them for guidance and wisdom. I have worked with so many people in the fire service that I can’t name them all. As I proceed through the history of our department there were very incomplete minutes and records for the first few years so some of the history is gone and buried. From a humble start we have progressed into we are one the best equipped and trained smaller departments in St. Lawrence County. 
Please forgive me for any misinformation or mistakes in this history they are not intentional.

During my time in the fire service I have been a member of the St Lawrence County Fire Advisory Board, member and director of the St. Lawrence County Fire Chiefs Association. I have served as secretary and various chief positions including serving 20 years as the chief in our fire department.

I have also served 15 years in the Tri-Town Rescue Squad which I am a past president, 8 years as town councilman and 8 years as the highway superintendent and just re-elected to another 4 year term. (2008) When I was a teenager, I  belonged to the Fort Jackson Juvenile Grange #537 and later moved up to Subordinate Grange where I was a member until it closed. I have been fortunate that my “wives” and children have supported me in these endeavors 100%.

I can remember a lot of the people that I have worked with over the years and I can’t thank them enough for the friendship, loyalty, education and dedication that I have received in the fire service. This is a true brotherhood where you put your life in someone else’s hands and know you are safe. 

                                                                        

THANK YOU ONE AND ALL!!

 

FT. JACKSON GRANGE # 537

Community Service Project

May -1950

 

Our Grange is comprised of one hundred nineteen members which is about 1/5 of the population of the Town of Hopkinton. The principle of this project is to organize a volunteer fire department.

In May of 1950 we heard of a fire truck for sale in Cape Vincent N.Y. at a cheap price. The next Sunday afternoon eight of our men got together and drove out to look at it and see if it would serve our needs and the price.

The next night a meeting was called and the price was announced as $600. We had no money and two of our good Grangers loaned the money to start this project. On August of 1950 we held our first field day and bar-b-q to raise money. This was a community affair that raised a total clear of $1,100 and we were able to pay off the loan and also purchase 800 feet of hose, not bad for the first time.

On August 18, 1951 another field day was held and we showed a profit of $1,166 and this money was used to purchase an 800 gallon tank truck and also make tables enough to seat 100 people.

On August 23, 1952 another field day was held and a profit of $1,235.55 was realized. This money was used to purchase a portable pump, hose and the balance was placed in the bank. Later on two pancake breakfasts were held with a profit of over $100.

The following year another field day was held on August 22 1953 which netted $1,800. At that time we served 400 dinners and 350 suppers, not bad for a small town.

Many community members supported these fund raisers and many of the first firemen were grangers. I am sorry to say that the grange closed in the mid sixties and never revived.


1

CHARTER MEMBERS
FRANK BALDWIN                                                  BENJARMIN BELL
DONALD BINAN                                                    JAMES BOICE
HAROLD BOOTH                                                    BERNARD BURGESS
CLARK CHITTENDEN                                           CARLTON CHITTENDEN
SIDNEY CONKLIN                                                        HARRIS DABY
CRYUS GOTHAM                                                    IVAN HOLLENBECK JR
CLYDE HOOPER                                                      CLARENCE KINGSLEY
FLOYD KINGSLEY                                                 LEROY KNAPP
PERLY MACOMBER                                               LELAND MCALLISTER
EDWARD MILLER                                                  EUGENE MILLER
GEOGE MILLER                                                       HOWARD MILLER
IRA MILLER                                                          JOHN NEWTOWN
GEOGE PERRY                                                 LEO PERRY
CECIL ROBERTS                                                     GUY SNELL
CECIL SUMMERS                                                   FLOYD TEBO
FRANCIS WARNER                                                       GEOGE WEBB
MORRIS WEBB                                                      GUY WILSON
HENRY WINTERS                                                 AARON WARNER
     DWIGHT YENTZER

 2
CURRENT MEMBERSHIP
2007
                               
BOB ADAMS                                         JARED MCCARGAR            
MICKY BAKER                                           HENRY MILLER
TRAVIS BAKER                                           MICKY MILLER
FRANK BARNEY                                                RYAN MILLER
JOHN CARDINAL                                       DALE NICHOLSON
BILL CONVERSE                                  MIKE OPAL
JUDY CONVERSE                                 DOTTIE PARKER
GREG CRUMP                                               KRISTINA PARKER
DICK DABY                                          STEVEN PARKER
KEN DESHAW                                              TIM RIEF
JERRY GOLDSWORTH                                        JAMES SCHILITZ
JAKE HOLLENBECK                                    LOREN SHATTUCK
LOREN HOLLENBECK                                        BERNARD SMITH
HOMER JESSMER II                                  JASON SMITH
HOMER JESSMER III                                        RON STREETER
RICHARD LASHOMB                                 TIM TAYLOR
LANCE LESPERANCE                                   VICTOR WAITE
                                                                ERNIE WOOD

               

1950’S

GETTING STARTED

May 22, 1950 29 men met at the town hall to form a local fire department and to discuss a fire truck that was available at Cape Vincent for $600. A committee was formed, sent to Cape Vincent and reported that the truck worked great. The truck was a 1930 Lincoln that was modeled as a squad car with a front mount pump, an 80 gallon booster tank, 150’ booster hose, two ladders, one axe, two search lights, one pike pole and two spare tires and wheels for $600.
The pump was rated as 550 gallons per minute with pressure up to 240 lbs.

There was discussion on the money and Carlton Chittenden, Roy Knapp and Guy Wilson loaned the $600 and we were under way.

June 1st. 1950 at 8:30 a public meeting was held at the town hall to officially organize the Hopkinton Ft. Jackson Fire Department and a total of pledges came to $445. The election of officers started with seven nominations for chief with Harris Daby becoming the Chief, Eugene Miller 1st. Assistant Chief, Clark Chittenden 2nd. Assistant Chief, Edgar Wagoner 3rd. Assistant Chief, Bernard Burgess, Treasurer and Carlton Chittenden as Secretary with the meeting ending at 10:30.  Also at that meeting it was decided to purchase 500’ of war surplus hose for $175.

The first order of business was to start raising money and a band concert was held netting $171.00.

Meanwhile in September 1950 a Dodge tanker truck was purchased in Massena some where, there was no mention of price or any other details of this purchase. At this time discussion was under way as to where to house our trucks. There was mention of renovating the old mill owned by the Chittenden family or building a new station. The membership decided that a building 30’ by 40’ with a 10’ ceiling would suffice. The cost estimate for materials was $1475.00 and to covert the old mill would be $600.00 which was the way the department went.

To show the difference of fifty seven years make, two of our trucks we have now are over thirty feet long. A new Duo-Therm oil heater was purchased to heat the station for $119.00

During this first year numerous fund raising events were being carried out including the sale of fire extinguishers, card party’s, bingo and raffles. At this time a pancake supper was held and they cleared $135.43 and were charging $1.00 per person.

The first method of notifying the membership of a call was having the Nicholville Telephone Co. operator activate six short rings on the hand crank phone system that was being used at that time. Everyone would than pick up the telephone and listen to the location of the fire.  

I noticed that they also purchased a new portable pump in the amount of $420.00 and one the fund raiser was filling water cisterns for the town’s people.

I need to explain the beef bar-b-q that was going on at this time. There was an outside oven that had a place to hang the beef and around the outside was where the wood was placed to cook the meat. If I recall the oven was about seven feet tall and maybe ten feet by ten feet. The beef was cooked the night before the field day was held. Back then there were no Sunday fund raisers, so the beef was cooked “all night” Friday night with the field day being held on Saturday. There were numerous trips to Hilltop Hotel for refreshments throughout the night and I will not elaborate on details as they are likely to incriminate certain individuals.

Once the fire department got going we needed protective gear and in the spring of 1953 it was decided to purchase one white raincoat plus a white helmet for the chief and an additional four black rain jackets and four helmets for the members. The bill for the jackets and helmets was $97.40. Later a motion was made to purchase six more helmets at the price of $11.75 each. (2007 price $242 each)

The December meeting of 1953 showed a used 1950 Ford truck being purchased and take the tank from the current truck and place on this chassis.

The summer of 1954 showed the membership was working with the Town Board to form a fire protection district. They were also were using the Parishville Fire Department by- laws as a guide to write our own and checking out building sites for a new station. It was finally decided to purchase the old Hopkinton School from the school district for one dollar. Members of the fire department and the town highway removed some of the East wall and installed two overhead doors to make two truck bays and at this point a sad occasion occurred. Clyde Hooper, one of our charter members, got his arm caught in one of the dump trucks and lost his arm. Clyde remained a member of this department until his death and still was active and a top seller of fund raising tickets for years.

Now as I mentioned before different ideas were being used for fund raisers,   one being a feather party. (WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!!) I had to add that in here because earlier I noticed some thing about roosters, geese and ducks and I am trying to keep bad visions out of my head at this time. About this same time the department started sponsoring horse shows. These were held on Clint Peck’s property on the Lake Ozonia Road, Lawrence Converse chaired this committee.

In 1956 the Civil Defense used our meeting room and I can recall equipment being around the station that was used to detect fallout.

July 11th 1956 there was a special meeting and The Hopkinton Ft. Jackson Ladies Auxiliary was formed and continued on until 2007. A lack of interest by younger members resulted in the demise of this organization.

 


LADIES AUXILIARY
CHARTER MEMBERS

MARARET BINAN                                      NELLIE MACUMBER

SARA CHITTENDEN                                   BETTY MCALLISTER

FERN CONKLIN                                         GRACE POWELL

MARY LOU CONVERSE                               MILDRED KINGSLEY

VIRGINIA WARNER                                 LOU EAKINS

VIVIAN KINGSLEY                                   GLADYS WINTERS

MAUDE EAKINS                                          IRENE FRANCIS

                                EVA JENNE          
                               

 

          Just a note that the Ladies Auxiliary were very involved in fund raising activities and donated money raised by these events to help us buy various pieces of needed equipment. We still have and use these things such as the cascade air system, nozzles and other equipment. For numerous years these ladies were a big help at our field days and also served many great meals at our annual banquets. I also want to note that wives and friends of our fire department have supported us immensely and we do thank them.


Now back to the operations of 1957. A heating system was discussed and George Fisk would install a new oil furnace in the amount of $225.00. At this time it was decided to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop and this would be headed by Erwin Zahler. I also noticed that, because of the new dial phone system that was installed in our area we had to incorporate a different way of notifying our members of fire calls. Fire phones were installed in various homes and business places and these people would go to the station to activate our siren. The best system was when the Zahler family had a fire phone in their house and also a switch to turn on the siren. This phone was manned by the whole family faithfully for many years, also the new dial system exchange in the Nicholville area was Davenport 8 followed by 2 and then the last 3 numbers. In the Winthrop exchange prefix was Evergreen 9.

On September 9th, 1957 100% of the membership voted to purchase a new Ford/Sanford fire engine. This was the first truck for our department. At this same time it was voted to allow “beer” in the station. Vote showed 10 “yes” 9 “no”.
The new truck was a 1957 F-700 Ford with a 292 C.I. engine with a 5 speed manual transmission. I have found no price for the cab and chassis. The body was built by Sanford Fire Apparatus Company located in Syracuse N.Y. This company went out of business in the ninety’s.

The body contained a 500 gallon booster tank with a 500 gallon per minute Hale two stage pump. It had two 2 ½ in. outlets and two booster reels mounted on top, also included were various small hand tools and ladders. The price for the body was $6,227.50  

In December of 1957 our new truck was in service and the old Lincoln was sold to Dickinson Fire Department for the sum of $350.00. The minutes from 1957 on were very vague and the usual discussions were held, as to fund raising and I did notice where they purchased a breathing mask with extra canisters. These were nothing like what we use today. One thing we have in common today is that they were holding training sessions and going to County meetings.


1960’S

Fund raising activities were still going on in the form of field days, book raffles and a horse show. Fund raising is one thing we have had in common from the start of the department and continued into the present. We were also attending neighboring field days in support of one another.

In the fall of 1960 a committee was set up to go to the air base in Rome N.Y. to look at a surplus truck. This ended up being a 1953 REO 6x6 and the department added extensions and a bolt on top to be able to use this as a tanker.
In June of 1961 they purchased two 1 ½” nozzles in the amount of $126.00

and a double female fitting for $30.00. In December, 1963 there was a discussion on installing an inside toilet in the meeting room.

In June of 1965 the fire department purchased a squad car for field days and whatever for a price of $150.00.  In July of 1965 it was voted to place a three bay addition on our present building for additional trucks and field day paraphernalia.
Fred Grobler gave an estimate of $5000.00. This was a cement block building with a sloped roof. In October the building was way behind schedule and a special meeting was held with Fred to have him sign off from the contract so the department could pay for the rest of materials and finish the project. Shortly afterwards a contract was drawn up to have Riggs & Wolchok finish the building for $1375.00. This did not include any insulation and the men completed this task.

In August of 1966 a profit of $1922.11 was realized, from the field day that was a good day for that time.

The minutes are more informative with Richard Daby taking over the office of Secretary, making this book easier to write. Finally in 1968 the old squad car was put up for bid and Harvey Farnsworth prevailed with a bid of $31.00.

Meanwhile a G.M.C. fuel truck was purchased from the army. It was painted and set up for a fire tanker.

In the October of 1968 meeting a presentation was put on to explain the Fireman’s Mobile Midway Rides. Our department decided to join at a price of $600.00. This consisted of a number of fire departments getting together and buying a roller coaster, swing set and boat rides to be moved to our site to be used as a fund raiser. This sounded like a great idea until it was time to move them from one department to another. We used hay wagons and trucks to move them. A lot of members seemed to be “busy” that night, imagine that!

In 1969 we were working on a $3,000 contract with the Town of Hopkinton and I also noticed that we were receiving a 2% check for less than $3.00. (In 2007 we are receiving more than $1,000) This money is to be used for the personal enjoyment of the members. Examples are jackets, t-shirts, caps or banquets.

Fires of the 1960’s

00-00-1963            Fred Grobler                   C.R. 49                           Store Fire
00-00-1965            Bernard Burgess              C.R. 49                           Barn Fire
05-10-1966            Clint Peck                       Lake Ozonia Road          House Fire
05-16-1966            Mason Smith                   Lake Ozonia Road          Camp Fire
05-27-1966            Tom Perrin                     Converse Road               Barn Fire
07-27-1966            Jim Converse                  S.H. 11-B                       Garage Fire
05-17-1967            Fred Grobler                   Converse Road               House Fire
09-27-1967            Merton Stacy                  S.H. 72                           Barn Fire
06-21-1968            Reggie Baldwin               Beebee Road                  House Fire
02-28-1969            Harry Miller                     S.H. 11-B                       House Fire
Numerous runs to the old dump and was saved!!


1970’S
THINGS ARE CHANGING!!

It was brought up at one of the meetings that any fire man that “loses his head” at a fire that he be reminded of who’s in charge and that he be put on suspension. It’s a good thing this wasn’t enforced or there would be nobody left in the department.

Now one thing I noticed was that a lot of the discussions that we have today were the same as in the beginning. Some of the subjects were by-laws, auditing of the books, insurance, taking care of equipment and what to do about members that are not active or doing any training.

Some of the things that the department was doing for the good of the community was sponsoring soft ball teams, bowling teams, boy scouts and also use of the hall for church school classes and allowed boys to come in on Monday nights and play supervised pool. Meanwhile in July of 1971 we decided the fireman rides were not working out and we sold our share to Pyrites Fire Dept.

This was met with resistance from other midway departments and Chief John Cardinal had to contact a lawyer to let us prevail.

There came a time that we decided to start purchasing some new turn out gear. Our first gear consisted of ten coats and ten helmets. The coats were a canvas type, but I could not find a price at this time. Also at this time we purchased our first Self Contained Breathing Apparatus and two spares bottles. The cost of the air packs was $385.00 each and $76.00 each for the spare bottles.  M.E. Avery of Massena sold us a lot of equipment at the time but also went out of business years ago.

The field day in the year 1971 cleared $2557.73. There was discussion of changing our field day from Saturday to Sunday. When the field days first started the beef was cooked all night on Friday and Saturday morning activities started with a parade followed by a family style beef dinner at noon. In the middle of the afternoon the dinner was shut down for clean up so hot beef sandwiches could be served for supper. After one more cleanup a band was brought in and a round and square dance was held. The next morning some tired firemen and town folks cleaned up the town park.

Now with the addition of more equipment we needed a place to carry it. In October of 1971 we purchase a used 1965 Chevrolet van for the price of $800.00.

This unit was changed and painted to accommodate the new air packs, coats, helmets, and small hand tools.
In the beginning of 1972 the department purchased a cab and chassis to be used as a tanker. The truck was a 1971 C-50 Chevrolet with a 350 C.I. engine and a 4 speed transmission with a two speed axle. This unit was purchased from Mace Motors of Canton with a price of $3900.00. (This business is also closed)

Once the truck was here the tank from the G.M.C. army truck was installed on it and the tank from the old 1953 Ford was placed on the army truck. The old Ford was sold for $200.00. The old REO was also taken off the road and sold to Tupper Lake. When Chief Cardinal came home from work the REO truck was gone but NO MONEY, well it didn’t take long and John was southbound to get a check or the truck. We got our money!

In 1972 we were purchasing Miller Beer for $4.55 per case and with an order of 50 cases we would receive 9 cases free. At one point we were selling about 100 cases of beer during our field day. One year we were late to get a beer license so we used the one from the year before. Imagine us doing that!! We also started sponsoring snow sled drag races which was very popular at that time. This added $25.00 to our insurance policy which made a total insurance bill of $687.50 for the year.
March of 1974 shows us purchasing a new cab and chassis from Mace Motors in the amount of $7,065. This was a Chevrolet C-65 with a 366 Cu. In. four barrel carburetor, a 5 speed manual transmission with a 2 speed axle. A short time before this we had purchased a stainless steel 2000 gallon milk tank in the amount of $500 and this was installed on this new truck. The old G.M.C. army truck was sold for $200 and the last time I saw it, it was being used as a wrecker in Colton.
I have to add that in December of 1974 Ernie Wood was voted into the fire department, I bring this up because in the March meeting of 1975 Ernie was already trying to sell us radios and to this day he is still selling us radios and equipment, no wonder we have no money! “only joking” At this time we were operating a 1957 engine, a 1971 tanker, a 1974 tanker and a 1965 equipment truck.

Another member I want to bring up is Jerry Goldsworth who came to us from Long Island in 1970. The reason I brought this up is because of his connections we started getting equipment from L.I. Departments, more about Long Island and Jerry later. In 1975 we changed from the old beef oven to cooking in the ground with wood, open pit style. This was done at Herb Fishers on Co. Rd. 49. Also at the same time frame we purchased a new 2 hp. 220 volt siren with starter, timer and clock from N.Y. Fire & Signal of Glens Falls N.Y. in the amount of $829.00 dollars. This siren sat around the station a long time because no one could read the blue prints to install it. Eventually Ernie Wood and I went to Glens Falls and they provided a simple pencil drawing. Upon our return to the station Bun Smith and I installed it and it is still working today. 
In the winter of 1976 there was action on looking into tearing down the old part of the station and replacing it with a one story building with one bay and a meeting room and bathrooms. The cost would be about $13,500 dollars. At the next meeting the price rose up to $18,500 dollars and this did not include water heater, wiring, heating or chimney. It was decided to replace the roof on the old station by Antwerp Roofing at a cost of $1450 dollars.

A new event was added to the field day in 1976, a pony pulling contest would be held behind the Congregational Church. A new addition to the parade this year was marching bands from Canada. This became a very crowd pleasing attraction for our field days for the next few years. One of our regular bands even showed up one year sporting an arm patch with our department name on it.

These field days became very large and saw us making over $6,000 clear on a one day event. For a number of years we were attending field days every weekend some as far away as Chrubusco to Cranberry Lake. We also started participating in a sport called water ball which was held by various surrounding departments including our own. To march we decided to purchase uniforms. They consisted of a hat, shirt, pants, belt, tie and badge. The total cost was $60 dollars each with the member paying half and the department paying the balance.

October of 1976 was the start of the future out look of the fire service. The first thing was we allowed a “GIRL” into our midst. This girl was Judy Converse who is still with us today along with her sister, brother, son, niece and nephew. Judy served as our treasurer from 1980 until 2002 and started that “DAMN” computer book keeping shit.

The new outlook also extended into training and equipment. We were able to secure a matching grant of $411 dollars which allowed us to purchase a 4000 watt generator, a smoke fan, two 500 watt flood lights with extra cords. I will never forget a fire we had at the Gaylord Collette residence. It was getting dark and Ernie Wood started up the generator and lights and Eugene Miller walked by and stared for a moment and said “jiggers, we should have bought this durn stuff years ago. Any time after that when a new piece of equipment was brought up Gene was our first YES vote. A short time later we purchased a Homelite entry saw and new ladders.

There were a few meetings held on the thought of forming our own rescue squad. Parishville was serving us at that time. Tri-Town Rescue Squad formed in 1979 and eventually they became our primary care givers.

The winter of 1977- 1978 was very busy with the upstairs being remodeled and the 1957 engine being painted. Ronnie Jock of Moira painted the engine and also the tank on the tanker. Now back to the upstairs, Dick Daby was on ten week vacation and along with Jerry Goldsworth, Shad Cardinal and other members started the work. Well after a while some of the wives thought we were spending too much time up here and soon they brought up bedding for their husbands to live here.
After a short time the ladies finally caved in and started bringing some great homemade food for us, it was a great time.
I believe Linda Daby and Al Cardinal spearheaded this attempt at an over throw, but it all came out well. The building repairs came to about $4500 dollars and turned out great.

The fall of 1978 was full of turmoil. We had several meetings with the town board    trying to get a new contract in the amount of $8,000 dollars. The Town Board stated that part of the problem was a bad attitude on our part. I am happy to say   there were changes here and at the board and we are now striving for the same goals. One interesting note was in the fall of 1979 the name of Ernie Wood was submitted as a candidate for the town council. The fire department gave Ernie   our full backing and he was the first Democrat to be elected in the Town of Hopkinton.

July of 1979 we installed a gas tank for the trucks and also a new ramp in front of the truck bays. We used Dave McKnight’s tractor and mixer for this project.


FIRES OF THE 1970’S

01-30-1970            Silas Eakins (Jones)         S.H. 11-B                        Barn Fire
04-26-1970            Dwight Yentzer               S.H. 11-B                        Garage Fire
05-10-1970            Nelson Grant                   S.H 11-B                         House Fire
07-16-1970            Carl Correll                     C.R. 56                           House Fire
12-12-1970            Jim Jenkinson                  S.H 11-B                         House Fire
04-30-1972            McGill                            Sylvan Falls                     House Fire
09-30-1973            Dolan Daggett                 C.R. 51                           Barn Fire
11-27-1973            Don Bell                         C.R. 51                           House fire
03-06-1974            Fred Hubbard                 Water St.                        Barn Fire
05-19-1974            Harvey Farnsworth          C.R. 51                           House Fire
09-28-1-74             Don Gilbert                     Water St.                        House Fire
01-17-1975            Gary Scrimpher               Lake Ozonia Road          House Fire
01-27-1975            Myrtle Stacy                   S.H. 72                           House Fire
07-05-1975            Archie Green                   C.R. 49                           Barn Fire
09-03-1975            Dick Burnett          Meacham Road               House Fire
06-20-1976            Ralph Cudlip                   Lake Ozonia Road          Camp Fire
09-24-1976            Gaylord Collette              Converse Road               House Fire
06-15-1977            Paul Johnson                   C.R. 51                           Barn/House
06-17-1977            Don Bell                         C.R. 51                           Barn Fire
02-22-1978            Mike Christopher            Water Street                    Barn Fire
05-10-1978            Carl Chittenden               C.R. 49                           House Fire
09-19-1978            Manley Lucas                  River Road                     House Fire
12-06-1978            Snyder                            River Road                     House Fire
06-28-1979            Jack Gary                       S.H. 72                           House Fire

We had numerous grass fires, hot pipes, wires down and chimney fires.


THE 1980’S
TRYING TO KEEP UP!

The Parishville - Hopkinton Central School gave us a 1971 Chevrolet station wagon which we made into a chiefs car. This was used to pick up parts, prizes and ads for the field day. We also used it to attend S.L.C. Chiefs meetings.

We were very fortunate that in April of 1980 we were offered some high band home receivers and a base station for paging members for fires. These came from Circleville Fire Department along with a donation of boots, pike pole, strainer, helmets and hand lights. Jim Tolles of Nicholville had belonged to that department and had put in a good word for us. The spring of 1981 showed us as having 9 spare air bottles. The last two cost a total of $375 dollars and we also purchased two Scott 2.2 air packs at a cost of $659.00 each.

In July of 1981 an American Flag was donated to us through Congressman Dave Martin. We still have this flag in our meeting room today.

Up until this time we had signed a contract with Parishville Fire Commissioners in the amount of $100 to protect White Hill area for fire and rescue. This was found to be illegal and it was changed that the Town Board would take over this contract.
Our field day showed a profit of $6327.52 for the day, not bad for a small town. In September of 1981 a lean to was erected at a cost of $1050. This was erected by a few members and some young people in town. The list included Henry and Micky Miller, Joyce Streeter, Emmett Duprey and Tim Dominy. With the exception of Joyce all others joined our department. Emmett and Joyce got married and later moved to Cranberry Lake and joined The Cranberry Lake Fire Dept. In December we were deciding to update our engine. Three trucks were available one in West Sayville, Long Island, one in Watertown and the last was in Ogdensburg. We placed a bid on the Ogdensburg truck but it was rejected because they would not sell to a private fire company. This caused a great commotion that even made the local papers. We finally decided on the Truck in Long Island and purchased it for $12,000. Jerry Goldsworth was the guiding force in this because this was his home department. We had sent members to look at it beforehand and we could not believe the size of the stations down there. The hospitality was out of this world and they were very generous!! The truck was a 1965 Seagrave with a  1000 G.P.M. Seagrave pump, 500 gallon booster tank, 817 C.I. Waukashaw gas engine with dual ignition and twin carburetors. We bought the truck bare but after the Commissioners left the fire men and officers loaded it full. What a great deal and this was not our last trip down there. After the engine was brought home we decided to paint and letter the truck at a cost not to exceed $600. I painted it here at the station after other members and I completely disassembled it. We used this for a number of years. After the truck was reassembled it was decided to add some new equipment. List as follows: 800 ft. 3” hose @ $2.27 per foot, 150 ft. 1 ¾ hose @ $1.28 per foot, hand tools and a basket liner at a cost of $599. I believe the total was a little over $3,000. The official County number assigned to this engine was E-61, a number still use today on our first due engine.

Back to the field days, in 1982 a profit of $6,872 was realized. We were trying a new approach for advertising our field day. We got twelve local business places to advertise on WMSA radio station at a cost of $100 each and in turn the station would advertise our field day including a live broad cast as the festivities were unfolding. This went on for a few years until the decline of this type of event.

In the summer of 1983 a new roof and back wall were redone on the old part of the station. The old parapet wall was taken off and new rafters with a peak were installed by Ron, Ricky and Willis Chapman at a total cost of $4,650 dollars. At the same time Allen Tower at NuMed allowed us to hook up to his well to provide running water at our station. This was the first time we had a steady supply of water at our station. Before this we had a cistern in the station for bathroom needs. There were times when the water tank was empty and as Gene Miller once stated “the toilet was full of shit which added a nice aroma to the meeting room”.

We finally got rid of the old chief’s car because the transmission was bad.

Once again Jerry’s friends at the Bohemia Fire Department contacted us about a donation of used equipment. We picked up coats, helmets, boots, deck gun and various size hose, a very worthwhile trip.

There has been an ongoing discussion on a new dispatch system. We were being dispatched by the Sheriffs office but we needed our own system. There was controversy at all levels at this time, more on this later.

In January of 1986 members of this department went once again to Long Island to look at an engine that was for sale in Hewlett Bay. It was a 1964 Mack with a 707 gas engine with a manual transmission, a 1000 G.P.M. Waterous pump and a 500 gallon tank. We were able to purchase this unit for $6500 dollars. This Engine became E-96. I will never forget this trip because when we got down there Ernie Wood was informed that his father had passed away, needless to say it was a long trip back home.

At the same time we were fabricating a new water tank for the 1974 tanker. It ended up that Duciewitz Welding built a new 4 feet by 6 feet by 12 feet tank capable of transporting 2200 gallons of water. I sand blasted the tank and painted the whole truck. The price of the tank was $2700 dollars including baffles.

This price also included two under body compartments and a step on the rear.

Along at this time we purchased the latest in turnout gear. We purchased ten long coats, boots and helmets. I can’t find the prices any where yet.

In the summer of 1986 a monument was erected in front of the station as a memorial to our fallen comrades. Eugene and Ira Miller with other help went to the Ft. Jackson Park and picked out a nice stone to use. It was brought to the station and placed on a base. Don Tebo wrote the dedication and had it placed on a bronze plaque and mounted on the stone. It reads: This tablet is erected by the members of the Hopkinton Ft. Jackson Volunteer Fire Department and Ladies Auxiliary to honor the memory of our deceased members. Their outstanding services to these organizations will always serve as an inspiration to our Department and auxiliary. A dedication was held for this honorable occasion.

In February of 1987 we purchased two turnout coats, two helmets, two Nomex hoods and two pair of gloves for a total price of $556.00 dollars. At the same time heating fuel was coming up in price and it was decided to purchase two new insulated overhead doors for the truck bay at a price of $925.00 each.

Well it became time to update our equipment truck so back with Jerry to West Sayville to look at a 1963 Ford C-600 with a 292 Cu. In. engine with a four speed transmission and twelve foot enclosed box. This truck also had an Onan 15,000 watt generator mounted in it with three air craft landing lights on each side. The price was $8,000 dollars and once again the truck was loaded with equipment.

The back was open so we decided to enclose this and install a door in it. I fabricated this and also painted the truck eventually. Most of our trucks were red with a white cab or the white top. This is still the case today.
Meanwhile the 1957 Ford engine had become obsolete and was sold to Steve Parker for a bid price of $710.00. The mileage was about 26,000 actual miles.

We also no longer had use for the 1965 Chevrolet van and this ended up in No. Lawrence Fire Department in exchange for a case of refreshments.

June 1st of 1987 was the startup date of the St Lawrence County Central Dispatch system. We now had our own dispatch system. In the fall of 1987 things were still changing, first of all it was decided to install three more insulated doors on the truck bays and also St. Lawrence County would be dedicating the George E. Briggs Training Center and we were asked to put on a demonstration.

On the training issues we were now required to start annual OSHA safety training consisting of fifteen hours for first time members and eight hours annually after that for everyone. This is still in effect today and getting worse because of the record keeping and time involved.

One of the things that keep us going is matching grants from various government agencies and in February of 1988 we received a matching grant to purchase 400 feet of 5” hose, spanner wrenches and intake manifold. The total price was $4000 dollars we were starting to really progress at this time.

December of 1988 a new sign in front of the station was installed with our name and also a space below to put letters to advertise town functions, this is still well used today.

In the summer of 1989 we put up a metal ceiling on both truck bays. We were also fortunate to work with the town board and the highway department to get our station driveway blacktopped. Our cost was $2,630.00, not bad because the town hauled it as a donation. Field day profits are dropping as well as the help. We were trying to hold our activities at the station so we could include softball tournaments at the Numed field in hopes of bigger crowds.

Meanwhile we were fortunate that grants were still being awarded, one from DANC which allowed us to purchase five new air bottles at a cost of $303.00 each.

March of 1991 it was decided to purchase a three bottle cascade system for filling our air bottles. This was a 4500 P.S.I. air system with all necessary fitting at a cost of $1395 dollars. This was purchased from Vermont Cascade Systems of Vermont.

Our ladies auxiliary contributed $1000 dollars to help us out.

FIRES OF THE 1980’S


01-09-1980            Archie Dashnaw              Bridge Street                   House Fire
09-17-1980            Liz Cornish                     C.R. 49                           Garage Fire
09-29-1980            Roy Foster                     S.H. 11-B                       House Fire
10-12-1980            Eugene Rozen                 Church Street                  House Fire
02-03-1981            Wards Hotel                             Brasher Falls                   Hotel
02-10-1981            Phippen Apartments        S.H. 11-B                       House Fire
04-03-1981            Clark Chittenden             S.H. 11-B                       Barn Fire
03-25-1982            Eugene Rozen                 Church Street                  House Fire
12-21-1982            Bob Converse                 S.H. 11-B                       House Fire
01-04-1983            Silas Eakins                     S.H. 11-B                        House Fire
03-27-1983            Phil Priest                       Converse Road               Barn Fire
11-21-1983            Phippen Apartments        S.H. 11-B                       House Fire
03-29-1984            Joyce Phillips (Olsen)      C.R. 49                           House Fire
11-29-1984            Herb Murray                   C.R. 56                           Garage Fire
12-21-1985            Hilltop Hotel                   S.H. 11-B                       Hotel Fire
06-19-1986            Silas Eakins                     S.H. 11-B                       House Fire
09-01-1987            Steve Parker                    Lake Ozonia Road          Trailer Fire
09-27-1988            Bernice Bowers               Green Road                    House Fire
11-29-1988            Murland Chesbrough       River Street                     House Fire

The 1990’s

As I sit here reading the old minutes and using the two finger method to type a lot of good memories come up and some not so happy. It’s November 2007 and as I write I am listening to the fire radio and heard that a hunter has a gunshot wound to the neck on Route 420 near Winthrop. This is the second one in a week, both hunters failed to survive.

Now back to the business at hand and I have read that in February of 1990 we had a moment of silence for our first ever Chief Harris Daby and charter member Clyde Hooper. Later in the spring we would bury Clyde in the Hopkinton- Ft Jackson Cemetery with the fire department acting as pall bearers. Clyde had no family so we purchased a headstone for him.

There was a lot of controversy concerning the new E-911 phone system. We were on record as being against this until a time when our questions could be answered.

In March of 1990 we had an unusual event in our department. Bun Smith and Judy Converse, both members of our department, had a son Jason. They were presented with a certificate for this event. Jason is now a member of our team.

In the spring we were contacted by the West Sayville Fire Department that they had a 1967 Seagrave engine for sale with the same spec’s as the one we already had. The minimum bid was $15,000 and after looking at it we decided it was too much considering the condition it was in. They received no bid and we

sent down a bid of $2,500 and we got it. Mike Wilson submitted a bid of $3,500 to repair the body and paint it then it was placed in service. In the fall it’s once again back to West Sayville and this time we purchased 1980 Dodge mini- pumper for $3100 dollars and a 1972 Seagrave engine with the same spec’s as the other two. We paid $5100 dollars for this but we were with bad luck with this unit. On the way home the motor went bad and we had to leave it there. The West Sayville Fire Department picked it up and later on paid to have it sent up here on a tractor trailer.

We ended up purchasing a used motor and overhauling the best one. The mini pumper was taken to my house and painted red and white at a price of $700 dollars. The Mack ended up at Nicholville and the 1965 Seagrave went to Lawrenceville at a price of $5,000 dollars. At this time we operated two Seagrave engines, two tankers, an equipment truck and a mini pumper.
Finally E-911 was put on line and a new numbering system was put in place. This is still in use today after numerous updates and replacement of the whole console system. Along this same time cable T.V. came through town and we were given free service.

We were also fortunate that the town had a big safe that they did not want any longer and gave it to us. The safe is about three feet by three feet by six feet and very heavy. We store our important documents in there.

The 1972 Seagrave, that we had recently purchased, was in need of body work and the parts came to $1700 dollars. After some discussion it was decided that I paint the engine with help from other members. Come to find out not to many members are interested in painting and body work.

In 1993 St. Lawrence County was expanding the dispatch center. It has always been under ground but they are building two stories above ground and there will be dispatch, sheriff and State Police sharing a central system.  

In 1994 we found that two of our air packs were not repairable and it was decided to purchase two new ones in the amount of $1,580 dollars. We were also in the process of looking into purchasing pagers for the members in order to get a larger and quicker response.  

In April of 1995 we expanded our service to the community by extending medical assistance to Tri-Town Rescue Squad. A number of our members have become N.Y.S. Certified First Responders which means that we now could offer basic life saving techniques including C.P.R. until other help showed up. Our jump bag, oxygen, backboard, collars and other supplies cost total of $390 dollars. Also in May of 1995 Nicholville purchased our Mack Engine a price of $3000 dollars.  

The March meeting of 1996 found us looking at a 1981 Ford/King Seagrave engine tanker. This truck came from Hogansburg Fire Department. This truck has an 800 gallon G.P.M. pump with a 1500 water tank and other small hand tools for a price of $27,000 dollars. It was voted to purchase this unit. Later we contracted with Dickenson Tire to paint this truck red and white and get rid of the slime green.

This job cost $2500 dollars and it now looks like a fire truck. The old TA-49, a 1971 Chevrolet, was sold to John Cardinal for the sum of $1721 dollars.

Finally in 1996 we closed our field day account and our field days are over. We are now having two to three bar-b-q’s per year and raffle tickets for fund raising activities. In the summer of 1997 we were finally able to purchase pagers for the membership. The cost at that time was $300 dollars each. We also purchased the Gale property on 11-B to be used as a fill site for the price of $2000 dollars. Meanwhile we have decided to “loan” our old hand drawn pumper to the Hopkinton Museum to be put on display.

 

 

22

ICE STORM OF 1998
AN EXTREME NATUAL DISASTER

As some people say “you won’t believe this shit” we are in for a rude awaking. The ice storm started January 5th 1998 and lasted over two weeks.

The first thing to happen was a slow start by the Town Board and our fire department and a large argument ensued as to who was to take charge of what. The next thing that happened was that Frank Burns and members of the Massena Fire Department came up with small generators and got the station up and running.

It all started to get real serious January 7th in the p.m. Ice was starting to build on the trees and wires. Ernie Wood had called me to get his generator wired up in case he needed it and about the same time fire tones were being set off for trees down. Ernie and I were at my house when Brasher Winthrop Fire Department was toned for a tree down just below my house. I notified Chief Pat Jones that we would check it out. Well we cleared some trees and I returned home and by that time it was really coming down. Around 2:30 a.m. January 8th the power was gone not to be seen for sixteen days. Finally the fire station and the town hall came to life. Ernie Wood was appointed to be the Incident Commander with Dave Beekman later coming in to assist. This place looked like a war zone. Soon The D.E.C., State Police, Army and National Guard started rolling in and soon local volunteers began getting meals set up for our citizens. A short time later fire departments began arriving from the southern tier region on different shifts to provide 24/7 protection for us. More help was hired to assist our town workers to try and keep the roads some what passable, a fruitless endeavor as it would not let up and even turned to six inches of snow one night with single digit temperatures. Because this was declared a State of Emergency all roads were shut down and special buses were set up to take you to town for grocery’s and medications. NO BEER SALES ALLOWED. Looking out your door and seeing Humvees, 6X6’s, and other army trucks roll by made you think you were under attack.

Neighbors helping neighbors was the main thing you saw throughout the community and was unbelievable. Everyone opened their homes to the elderly and took care of them. This Hopkinton area was one of the hardest hit. I measured up to four inches of ice on vehicles. I was working for Mike Wilson at the time and we were short handed and those of us that showed up worked long hours. It was never ending job of cleaning, feeding and milking 500 cows. Luckily we had a generator but it was very disheartening to watch 15,000# of milk being poured down the drain every day. We did get a lot of people at the farm because we had water, hot water and milk.

The fire departments helped our citizens by pumping cellars, clearing roofs and checking on generators. The out pouring of generosity and emotion was unbelievable. FEMA and other agencies came in and provided funding for cleanup and restoration and the fire service even received money for our man hours spent.

Lessons learned were to follow an emergency plan, keep excellent records, cooperation and believe in your fellow man.
The following fire departments helped us with man power and donations.

          Owego F.D.                    Southside F.D.                Nichols F.D.
Skaneateles F.D.             Lake Shore F.D.              Morehouse F.D.
West Brighton F.D.         Prospect F.D.                 Henrietta F.D.
Farmington F.D.              Afton F.D.                      Ontario F.D.
Onondaga F.D.               Marcellus F.D.                Fleming F.D.
Scipio F.D.                     Binghamton F.D.             Massena F.D.

       Carrier Corporation

          Phoenix F.D.                   Liverpool F.D.                North Syracuse F.D.
Sandy Creek F.D.                                                  Lacona F.D.

 In closing, many timber company’s and private individuals that had timber equipment came out to assist our area. The devastation to the woods will be visible to us for our life time and beyond. This has been termed as one of the worst natural disasters in history due to the fact it reached from below Watertown and up in to Montreal, Canada. The repairs to the utilities reached to the West Coast to get materials needed for the necessary repairs and man power from as far away as Pennsylvania was working up here.

Once again Hopkinton has survived and we will survive and be heard!!

 
FIRES OF THE 1990’S

06-20-1991            Dave Labier’s son           C.R. 49                           Motorcycle
12-30-1992            Lil’s Tavern                    Brasher                           Hotel
03-19-1994            Yvonne Ashlaw               Lake Ozonia Road          House Fire
06-25-1994            Donna Vaccaro               S.H. 458                         House Fire
01-10-1995            Don Baldwin                   C.R. 49                           House Fire
02-16-1996            Silas Eakins                     S.H. 11-B                       House Fire
05-27-1996            Lois Jenne                       Beebee Road                  House Fire
11-10-1996            Jeff Sprankle                   S.H. 458                         House Fire
09-22-1997            Gordie Lashomb             S.H. 11-B                       Barn Fire
02-13-1998            Goldie Labar                   Beebee Road                  Garage Fire
04-13-1998            Michael Richael               S.H. 11-B                       Green house
06-29-1998            Allen Daby                      S.H. 72                           Barn Fire
07-08-1999            ??                                   C.R. 56                           Barn Fire
09-24-1999            Fred Belile                      Mosher Road                  Garage Fire

 

Y2K
“THE BEGINING OF THE END”??

          Gloom and doom was the out look as we approached December 31st 1999.
We were being told at midnight that computers would not register the New Year date of 2000. Because of that airplanes would not be able to fly, banks could not process your accounts, and even the stock market could crash. We were being advised to have enough water, food, fuel, gas and cash to survive for a week. As we now know that this turned out to be a very small problem.

We had a meeting in our town hall to listen to Massena police officer, Michael Mayette who advised us of the impending problems. I believe Ernie Wood was the person who orchestrated this meeting. (Mr. DOOM & GLOOM himself)
The papers and T.V. were also having much discussion on this subject but in the end it all worked out.

Some of the preventive measures being carried out were the spending of NIMO’S $30 million and NYPA’S $20 million to do updates on their computers. Many companies were being staffed with up to 10 times their normal manpower. The United States would spend $10 billion with another $30 billion by business companies.

Just to show the expense of this problem, NIMO had 800 people on duty 01-01-00 compared to a normal night of 80 people. This alone was a large expense and was being passed on to the citizens of our country.

I wonder what these third world countries with limited modern conveniences were thinking at this time.

 

 
THE NEW MILLENIUM
LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE

          We were still foraging ahead with such modern convenience’s such as electric door openers and also installed a new furnace from Hynes Plumbing of Parishville, at a cost of $4,329 dollars.

We decided that going through the Ice Storm and receiving FEMA money that we had better put some thought into the purchase of a generator for the station. We decided to buy a Robin 10,000 watt generator from Scott McRobbie in the amount of $3,241dollars and also wire this into the station in case of power outage. Along the same time we installed an above ground 500 gallon gas tank with an electric pump for $1,000 dollars. More and more training is being required and we are buying PASS alarms for the air packs. These send out a loud audible beep when a firefighter is immobile for more than a few seconds enabling other fire fighters to come to their rescue.

We have reached a major milestone in our department. We are celebrating fifty years of dedicated fire service to our community. In July of 2000 we had a public celebration at our station with many guest speakers and refreshments. We started Saturday afternoon with a good will get together with our neighboring departments. Sunday the public and other dignitaries were on hand for a presentation. Edwards Productions of Massena channel 24 T.V. was on hand to tape our celebration. This was paid for by our local business places and friends, this tape was played on television numerous times. We were also presented with copies for our viewing pleasure. We were also honored by the following presentations. The Saint Lawrence County Board of Legislators presented the following Certificate of Appreciation,

In recognition for excellent and outstanding achievements, The Hopkinton Ft. Jackson Fire Department has faithfully served the community for 50 year, an achievement that stands as a testament to your hard work and dedication. Your presence is both an asset and a comfort to the citizens you serve in their time of need. You meet the demands of the job and perform them going above and beyond the call of duty in exemplary fashion by making yourself available at any time for any situation. Your commitment to excellence has earned you the respect and appreciation of the St. Lawrence County Administration.

In Witness Whereof, we caused this Certificate to be signed this Twenty-Third day of July in the year 2000.  Signed by Lloyd Moore District 7 Legislator and Michael Wassus Director Emergency Services

 

From the New York State Assembly
Citation


Whereas, it is incumbent upon the people of the New York State to recognize those among us who have sacrificed and dedicated their lives to protect our community; and

Whereas, such service has been performed faithfully for the past fifty years by those who volunteered to serve in the Hopkinton Ft. Jackson Fire Department; now therefore be it

            Resolved, that as an elected Member of the State Assembly of New York, I further
Recognize that a Great State is only as great as those persons who give exemplary service to their community; and the

Hopkinton/Fort Jackson Fire Department

has excelled in the performance of its duties to this community, and is worthy of the esteem of both the Community and the great State of New York.

Date: July 23, 2000                                                                           Dierdre K. Scozzafava
Member of Assembly

          This was a great day, also included were presentations by FASNY and NNYFA to the surviving charter members of our department. A flower bouquet from Potter Insurance was presented to Sara Chittenden by Dick Daby. Now no day is complete without something not working out as planned. In this case, while presenting the flowers, Dick failed to notice that there was water in the vase and when he tipped the flowers down so Sara could see them better some water fell into her lap which caused a great chuckle. We had a good turn out of members and community folks. This is an achievement that we can be proud of. Our Town Board was also on hand with a proclamation which reads as follows:


Township of Hopkinton
Steve Bory, Supervisor
Vicky French, Town Clerk
Richard Powers, Councilperson         Marvin Rust, Councilperson
Gilbert Sochia, Councilperson  Sue Wood, Councilperson

PROCLAMATION

  Whereas, The Town of Hopkinton recognizes the significant work, dedication and
Unique contributions         volunteer firemen ; and,

  Whereas, volunteer firemen risk their own well-being by continually demonstrating
True commitment to ensuring our public safety; and,

  Whereas, the volunteer firemen of the Hopkinton-Ft. Jackson Fire Department are
dedicated to the safety of life and property from the devastating effects of fire ; and,

  Whereas, the morale of volunteer firemen is affected by many factors, and the
public perception of the role of the volunteer firemen is important in the performance of
Their duties ; and,

  Whereas, as public servants, volunteer firemen dutifully perform their work with
courage, pride, and true professionalism ;  and,

  Whereas, the Hopkinton Ft. Jackson Fire Department is celebrating its’ fiftieth
anniversary  protecting the communities of Hopkinton and Ft. Jackson ;

  NOW, THEREFORE, WE, THE TOWN BOARD, REPRESENTING the Town of Hopkinton, do here proclaim the week of July 23 –July 29, 2000 to be
Hopkinton Ft. Jackson Volunteer Firemen Week
In the Town of Hopkinton, and we call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.
In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hand and caused to be affixed the seal of
The Town of Hopkinton on this Seventeenth day of July in the year of our Lord two thousand.

                                    It was signed by the above Town Board Members

There were more changes on the horizon. The St. Lawrence County Fire Chiefs Association has purchased a 35 foot fire prevention trailer for use in the public sector for fire safety training. This trailer contains a kitchen, bedroom and living room. Each room has the capability to be filled with smoke and also a telephone to teach children the proper use of 911. This trailer has been very valuable in the county. There is one story that a child had wakened to the smell of smoke in her house and had gotten every body out and to a safe place and had called dispatch on a portable phone. When questioned about her heroic deeds she stated that she had attended fire safety training at the trailer the week before.

Training was also being updated and we were being taught a new course called Emergency Vehicle Operations Course and today you are not to drive a fire engine unless you have taken this course.

 


Gerald Goldsworth
A Special Award

          In January of 2001 The Saint Lawrence County Fire Chiefs Association selected Gerald “Jerry” Goldsworth as Fireman of the Year. This is a special award presented to a person who has gone beyond the line of duty. A banquet was held at the Hopkinton Town Hall on 04-21-01 with the meal catered by Silver Café, with brother firefighters, friends and family attending this special event.

Let’s backtrack to 07/05/40 when Jerry joined the West Sayville Fire Department and soon became very dedicated to the fire service. On August 03/1953 Jerry crossed the line and moved into the Bohemia Fire District and transferred to that department. Than he really went to town serving as secretary of the Islip Town Volunteer Firemen’s Association, a position he served from 1954-1966 and was elected as 3rd Vice President and 2nd Vice President. He was also a member of the Islip Town Fire Chiefs Council serving as secretary, 1st Vice President and as President. Jerry was getting bored so he was elected to the office of Chief in May of 1959, a position he held until May of 1961. He also helped form the Bohemia Volunteer Firemen’s Benevolent Association and served as the first President from 1962-1964. Just an interesting note is that Jerry belonged to a firematic race team called the Suicide Squad. (Imagine Jerry wearing a shirt that says Suicide Squad on it)

In 1964 he was elected to Bohemia Board of Fire Commissioners and also served as chairman for two years. In 1969 Jerry, his wife and daughter came north and in 1970 Jerry joined our struggling department. It was not long and Jerry was fitting right in and telling us stories about his home departments. We thought he was full of sh-t because nobody had this kind of equipment or the kind of stations he was talking about. As I mentioned before we started going to Long Island and purchasing fire trucks for us. When we got there we found Jerry was lying because they had more things than he had told us about. These departments really gave us a step up and we certainly appreciate every thing Jerry and his friends did for us. Now Jerry did not sit around for long before serving on several committees and serving as secretary and moving up to Assistance Chiefs positions. In 1989 he was elected Chief serving until 1991. He also served as Chief from 1996 until 1998 and has held a directors position numerous times. Jerry is our leader in carpenter duties, his work still shows throughout the station. Its 2007 and Jerry led a group of firefighters in putting a new roof on the back of the station and is still serving as a director of our department.  

31
Tragedy Strikes

June 29 of 2001 was a near perfect day in our little town until our pagers came to life. “ Stand by Tri-Town Rescue and Brasher-Winthrop Fire you have a two car M.V.A. at the intersection of County Road 49 and the Buckton Road also known as Sweeny’s Corners” Myself and Ernie Wood responded from Hopkinton with a Tri-Town ambulance and proceeded to the call. Only after arriving did we learn from Chief Pat Jones that firefighter C. Robert Converse was deceased. Soon after, our department was called out to block traffic at the intersection of C.R. 49 and C.R. 51 needless to say this was a heart breaking time. Bob was not alone, his two dogs were with him, and they also succumbed to their injuries. Bob and his companion’s were transported to the hospital together. I assisted the State Police in notifying the family, this is not an easy job. Later a celebration of his life was held at the Hopkinton Town Hall with family, friends and firefighters attending.
Bob started with our department in June of 1955 and was an active member all his life. He had served as a director for a number of years also served as an Assistant Chief. He was very active in many of our committees including by-laws, truck and field day committees. Bob kept our driveway clear of snow and constantly checking the fire station to make sure things were running smoothly.

The fire service ran strong in his blood and it was passed down to his daughters, Judy and Dottie, his son Bill, two grandsons Jason and Steve and finally a granddaughter Kristina.

Bob was a community person serving on the Hopkinton Ft. Jackson Cemetery Association committee of which he served as president. He was also very active in the Hopkinton Historical Association and was quite instrumental in procuring a gazebo for our town park.

Bob and his wife Mary operated a service station for a few years where Greg and Molly’s are now. At one time he also worked for the St. Lawrence Soil and Water District. Bob drove tractor trailer for Chet Bissnett for a long time, hauling scrap metal and steel to and from Montreal. For years Bob also was well known for his snow removal operations around town. If any one needed a favor, especially the elderly, Bob was your man.

We have had lost many members along the way due to natural causes but I believe this was the second unexpected tragedy in our department. The first was Lawrence Arquett, who died in a hunting accident in 1984. He will be remembered, along with Francis Warner as our resident beef cutters. I was informed that Lawrence met his wife, Beverly, at the first field day while she was riding on a float. Lawrence worked at ALCOA and cut a little hair for folks.   


911
Our Country IS Under Attack!!

          I can’t help but notice throughout the history that when good things happen that sooner or later the bad things surface. Hopefully we can get back to good events but to no avail. The morning of September 11, 2001, started out like any other day, people going to work, children going to school and neighbors enjoying a nice day. Then around 9 o’clock the radios and the T.V. came to life with news bulletins coming in that a large airplane had collided with one of the Twin Towers in New York City.
There’s no one alive that day that can’t tell you where they were or what they were doing. I was working with my highway crew and neighboring departments finishing a blacktop job on the Lake Ozonia Road. As a matter fact we were by the Sochia gravel pit. One of the guys said he had heard the news on the radio of a plane crash. I was heading to the town barn so I turned on the T.V. and one look I knew our country was in trouble. Our job was completed and we all went back to the barn and watched history in the making. It was not long before a second plane hit the other tower and a short time later it was reported that something had hit the Pentagon. While these events were unfolding a fourth plane went down in a field in Pennsylvania, later it was learned that the passengers had tried to take the plane back but failed. These were fully loaded planes with fuel and passengers. These terrorists stirred up a bees nest and entered us into a war that is still going on in 2007. This has caused a national security threat that has caused a great deal of paper work and waiting at border crossings.
The fire service was shocked after the count showed that “343” fire and rescue personnel were killed along with about nine hundred civilians that were in the towers and in the airplanes. Later when things got back to normal memorial services began around the country for lost firefighters. In the New York City Fire Service there were stations where all their members were killed.
There was a whole new attitude towards the fire service afterwards. Finally we were being treated as heroes with fire members getting standing ovations, hand shakes and hugs for our dedication. The government formed a Homeland Security division which is working with FEMA, to assist the fire service with much needed financial assistance grants. We were fortunate that we received one of these grants and will explain very shortly.


The Fire Service Motto
WE WILL NEVER FORGET


Well I promised that things would be getting better and in the spring of 2002 we were able to purchase a 1990 Maxim fire engine. This was purchased from KME Company of Albany, New York. We found this truck for sale in the amount of $75,000 dollars. Dale Nicholson, Ernie Wood and I went to view this truck and could not believe our eyes. My first thought when seeing it was that it was a new truck. This unit is a seven man cab with a 350 horse power Detroit 6V92 engine, a 1500 gpm Hale Pump, a 750 gallon water tank and a built in foam system. This truck is a dream and I never believed we would own something of this caliber.

In July of 2002 we got a chance to show off our new truck in the biggest parade and best celebration of the history of the Town of Hopkinton. We celebrated the town’s bi-centennial birthday. I can’t help it but this celebration was so out standing that I need to describe the activities. First there was a parade that seemed to never end with approximant 85 units. We had fire trucks, ambulance squads, log trucks, marching organizations, classic cars, tractors and a lot of floats. Some of the floats came out of Massena and surrounding communities. We also had a tractor pull out behind Nu-Med as well as a large display of fire works. Our department held a chicken bar-b-q in the afternoon. We cooked 300 halves with all the side dishes and to our surprise we were sold out in forty-five minutes with a line of people reaching the road wanting to eat. The hamburger, hot dogs, sausage, and soft drinks that had been bought for the two day weekend was sold out before noon on Saturday. There was not a burger or hot dog left in Potsdam or the surrounding area for miles around. This event was so well received that to this day it is still a crowd attraction each summer, although on a smaller scale. We have a variety of entertainment to entertain the people and also meals put on by various organizations.

Mary Converse was the chairperson and with a lot of help from friends and neighbors changed the motto from “I think we can” to “we did it”. The turn out from former towns people was tremendous, some from as faraway as the west coast. As people say “you had to see it to believe it”.


FUN FACTS:
3000 bottles of water donated and passed out, 109/ 24 packs soft drink (2604 cans)
230 lbs hamburger served, (1150 burgers) 25 lbs Glazer hot dogs, (200 dogs)
115 lbs Tri -Town hot dogs (920 dogs) 44 lbs regular dogs (352 dogs)
140 lbs sausage (560 sausages)
Total: 3182 servings with buns to match.

 

WHAT A WEEKEND!!


After purchasing our new truck we turned to purchasing some new equipment for helping the ever changing world of emergency responses. We purchased a saws all, window punches, and seat belt cutters because we were responding to more car accidents and emergencies than we are fire calls. 

We are also receiving more training on biochemical and terrorism events, due to the events of September, 11, 2001. Another course we are taking at this time is Meth Lab Awareness.

Meanwhile we had more trucks here than we could house so we decided to sell the last pair of Seagraves to J.C. Moore of Pennsylvania in the amount of $8,000 dollars, with our thanks to Jerry and his friends in Long Island for helping us move up in the world of fire suppression. One of these ended up in Germany.

July of 2003 we decided we needed to purchase a new computer for our department because the one donated from Alcoa was not up to date and would not be able to handle the internet and all the new things that were happening.
January 13, 2004, at a special meeting, it was voted to purchase a used Engine Tanker from the Massena Fire Department at a cost of $10,000 dollars. This unit is a 1976 Mack refurbished in 1995 and has a Diesel engine, automatic transmission, a 1500 gpm pump, and a 1500 gallon water tank. This truck replaced our 1974 Chevrolet tanker.

February 10, 2004 we were offered an opportunity to purchase a used rescue truck from West Stockholm Fire Department in the amount of $20,000, dollars of which we accepted.

The truck was a 1981 Chevrolet with a Pierce walk in body. This truck was powered by a 427 cubic inch engine with a four barrel carburetor and a 5 speed manual transmission. It also contained a 15,000 watt Onan generator with scene lighting and plenty of space for our tools. This truck replaced our 1962 truck presently in service and once again Ernie Wood led the charge for these two purchases. I ended up painting this truck and lettering it. In April of 2004 we sold the Ford Rescue for $1,851 dollars to Robbie Fenner and the 1974 tanker went to Radleys Ag Shop with a bid of $2,612 dollars.
In the summer of 2004 shows us working with the town board to try to build a new combination fire station and town office complex on County Road 49. This is still pending in the year 2007.

August 5, 2004 we hit “The Lottery” Dale Nicholson had filed for a FEMA grant and we were notified that we were to receive $60,372 dollars and we had to contribute $6,708 dollars to the above grant for a total of $67,080 dollars. We purchased twenty-two sets of turn out gear and four Scott Air Packs with two spare bottles and also an Automatic External Defibrillator for chest pain calls.  

The price of the air packs were $5,855 dollars each with an additional $1300 dollars for two spare carbon type bottles. (turnout gear $1500 per man)

We are looking for new and younger members at all times. A new program was implemented called a Restricted Active Membership. A person has to be sixteen or seventeen years old to join. To be in the RAM program you must maintain your grades in school, no driving the trucks or driving to the scene with personal vehicles but are allowed to take Certified State Training Courses. You have restrictions on the fire scene and no key for the station. This is a serious program set up by the ESIP Insurance Company and helps entice young blood into the fire service. We have had six join the RAM program and moved into regular membership when reaching their 18th birthday, this is working great for us.

In the spring of 2005 we have had several meetings with Steve Bory, Town Supervisor, on the possible construction of a combination of a fire station and town office complex. This would be located on Co. Rd. 49 on the old Conklin farm and be around 6500 square feet of space. We are still trying to acquire funding at this time. Nu-Med, next door, has expressed an interest in the present fire station.

Of course no matter how nice things are going there is always more paper work coming along. In this case we need to establish a 501(c) 3 status to show that we are an official non-profit corporation. This does work in our favor in that it allows people and other business places to claim donations on their IRS forms. One company that does this is Alcoa. They have an Alcoa Bravo program that allows us to receive a $250 dollar donation for each person that works there, who is a member of our department. We have three at this time allowing us to receive $750 per year. We also have to start filing each year with the IRS. We had to hire a lawyer to file the paper work, which was not cheap.

Hey guess what, we are now informed that we have more mandatory training to attend. Besides the yearly eight hour OSHA mandatory training we now have to take a course called National Incident Management System. This is a two part test for all members including town highway workers. If you are a supervisor you will take an additional two parts. I don’t know about other people but I feel a lot “smarter”.


 Tragedy strikes again!

On 04-29-06 firefighter Ron Dillon was out at his building lot on 11-B clearing brush in hopes of building a new house. Ron and his wife, Bridgett and their two children, were working when Ron developed chest pain and called the rescue squad. June Wood was first on scene and was talking to Ron and shortly after he became unresponsive. More help was called and our fire department responded with our AED, along with Tri-Town, Potsdam and Parishville Rescue Squads.

I am sorry to say that Firefighter Dillon was pronounced deceased at the Canton- Potsdam Hospital. Jared McGargar and Loren Hollenbeck were attending a fire school in West Potsdam along with other members of our department when the call went out on their pagers. Although to far away to help us, their thoughts and prayers were there for us. The irony of this was when they were on their way home our fire tones went off as they were passing the lot where Ron had been stricken and we were called to a grass fire.

Later we stood by as an honor guard at the calling hours held at Garner Funeral Home. The next day Ron’s family requested that we transport Ron from the St. Mary’s Church in Potsdam to their cemetery on the fire truck. We borrowed the bunting from the Massena Fire Department and along with Ron’s turnout gear sitting proudly on the front bumper we were honored to fulfill the family’s wishes.

Over the years we have had numerous banquets to enable us to have a night off to be with our wives, town board, neighboring fire departments and other special quests. At our banquet in 2006 we were given a generous gift from the Parishville Fire Department. Our banquet was being held at the Parishville Bingo Hall with dinner being served by their auxiliary. When James Sullivan was introduced he started with his usual “bull” and ended up giving us a set of Hurst Rescue tools, this included the jaws and cutters. Jim has been given the opportunity to travel to Long Island through contacts and picked up a couple of used ambulances and two sets of jaws. These extrication devices along with our other equipment, has enabled us to respond to accidents and provide a better service to our friends and neighbors.

Meanwhile we are working on our station to cut the heat bill and make it more attractive. Metal siding on the back and West end of building would cost $1989 dollars and insulation and metal for the inside would cost $704 dollars. Our labor bill would run $4200 dollars with a total of $6893 for materials and labor. Tim Scott was the contractor for this project, which came out very nice.

November 30, 2006 I had one of the worst days in my life in the fire service, while proceeding down the Kingsley Road I got to close to the edge, entered the ditch and rolled over the 1976 Mack fire engine that we had purchased from Massena Fire Department. The truck was declared a total loss. We ended up buying it back for $1200 dollars and later it was sold to Northern Fire of Watertown for the price of $3500 dollars. Meanwhile we needed a replacement and we found a 1981/89 Emergency One at a cost of $45,000 dollars from the Volney Fire Department. We had also received $47,750 dollars from our insurance company. Over the years we had some body damage on our trucks for various reasons, but this took the prize, an honor I never want again.

The new truck is a five man canopy cab with a 430 hp 8V92 Detroit Diesel with an automatic transmission and tandem rear axles. The pump is a 1500 gallon per minute Hale pump, with top mount controls and a 2200 gallon water tank. It just fits into the station.

Once again lady luck smiles on us because the Canton Fire Department has for sale a used air compressor, for filling our cascade system, at a cost of $5,000 dollars. They have purchased a new one with a FEMA grant at the cost of $45,000 dollars. We were a little short of money at the time so Dale Nicholson made a loan request with The USDA. By the time we got done they gave us a grant in the amount $4,500 dollars. This is also used by neighboring departments to fill their air tanks. This compressor can fill our Cascade system up to 4,500 psi.

I mentioned earlier that ALCOA has programs to help out. September 29, 2007 twelve members of the ALCOA workers showed up to work at our station and along with our members completed the following, the meeting room was cleaned, wood split and placed in the pit, new steel roof on lean to, poured new cement ramp, painted truck bay floors and revamped the flower bed. Now the good part, if more than ten people show up you will receive $3,000 dollars. So we had a total expense of $1621 and ended up $1379 dollars ahead plus all the work being done. Dale Nicholson, our treasure and ALCOA employee found this program for us.

Some of the new things we are doing now are ladder testing and I.D. tags to satisfy more of the OSHA requirements.
Good luck does come our way at times. In the summer of 2007 Senator Griffo’s office called and asked if we could use any money to update our equipment. Well the answer was yes and we are receiving a $25,000 dollar grant. We are purchasing 2200 feet of hose at a cost of $7200 dollars, an entry saw at a cost of 1700 dollars, 5 pagers at a cost of $380 each, fittings at a cost of $850 and   2.5 nozzles.


FIRES OF 2000 -2008

11-09-2000            Robert Smith                  S.H. 11-B                       House Fire
11-16-2000            Ronnie Ashlaw                Lake Ozonia Road          Trailer Fire
12-16-2000            Wayne Crump                 McEwen Road                Trailer Fire
07-23-2001            David Durant                   C.R. 55                           Barn Fire
10-08-2001            Tonya Gotham                Water Street                    House Fire
02-26-2002            Wayne Cline                   Santamont Road             House Fire
05-05-2002            Amanda Baker                Lake Ozonia Road          Shed Fire
05-13-2002            Joyce Patnode                 C.R. 49                           House Fire
06-04-2002            Eugene Miller                  S.H. 11-B                       Garage Fire
06-27-2004                Conrad Cook                  S.H. 72                           Barn Fire
09-03-2004            Walt Parker                     S.H. 72                           Barn Fire
09-22-2004            Alexandra Ratajczak        S.H. 11-B                       House Fire
01-27-2005            Harry Beatty          Denton Road                  Trailer Fire
01-29-2005            Eric Loebs                      C.R. 56                           House Fire
04-02-2005            Joseph Barney                 Converse Road               House Fire
05-06-2005            Lee Hazen                       S.H. 11-B                       Barn Fire
12-01-2005            Bob Lucy                       McEwen Road                Trailer Fire
12-16-2005            Pat Colton                      S.H. 11-B                       House Fire         
05-29-2006            Noah Schlaback              Water Street                    House Fire
09-17-2006            Loren Taylor                   S.H. 458                         House Fire
02-05-2007            James Foster                   Day’s Mills Road            House Fire
02-09-2007            Bryan Vosburgh              Allen Falls Road              House Fire
04-25-2007            Dennis Burnett                C.R.54                            House Fire
08-11-2007            John Miller                      S.H. 11-B                       House Fire
12-05-2007            Dave Enslow                   S.H. 11-B                       Garage        
01-02-08                Robert Fenner                 S.H. 11-B                       House Fire

 


RAMBLINGS & AFTERTHOUGHTS

 

          As I go through the minutes certain topics keep popping up, such as by-laws which have been discussed and revamped on a continual basis. Some of the reasons are because of mandated rules or changing times. We are constantly bombarded with new mandated changes. Some of the changes are the OSHA training, ladder testing, hose testing and air pack inspections. The members that are interior trained must have a yearly physical and fit testing also all members must carry accountability tags, yellow for on scene and green for interior. In the year 2006 our members had over 1800 man hours of training including 1200 hours of state certified training.

We are constantly discussing town contract and trying to balance a budget that the town’s people and the fire department can work with.

We are allowed only certain fund raising activities because of insurance issues. A new issue this year (2007) is that the Department of Health has started checking for proper food serving and preparation.

Some of the membership has to be reminded to take care of equipment and keep the station clean and they wonder why the Chiefs are irritable.

There are always members that have become lax in attendance, training and become an insurance risk and need to be dealt with.

We had picnics after our field days years ago to say thanks to the people that worked at our field days. We also sponsor Halloween parties for the children and work with other organizations to help improve their fund raisers.

We donate to the local schools for scholarships and alcohol free proms. We also work with the County Fire Training Trailer at the Parishville- Hopkinton School and at our station for fire prevention programs.

Fund raising is always an ongoing effort. Some of the ideas we have tried over the years are: gun raffles/ 20week clubs/ field days/ 50/50 raffles/ four wheeler raffle/ shopping spree/ chicken and beef bar-b-ques/ mail campaign/ breakfasts and others.
As I read through the minutes I come across names that have either moved away or have passed away. These names bring back a lot of memory’s and good times. If it was not for these members we would not be where we are today, we are carrying on a fine tradition of dedication to our community. We are in the process of planning a banquet to be held in the spring of 2008. This will be a special occasion because Richard Daby and Homer Jessmer II will be honored for their fifty years of service with the Hopkinton Ft. Jackson Fire Department.

It’s December 29, 2007 and I am trying to end this project so that the Town Historian, Mary Converse can put this into print. I would like to add that Mary has done an outstanding job of bringing our history up to date and welcomes us to stop and share this history with us.

Dale Burnett has finished the history of Hopkinton and has sent it to print. Dale also authors a quarterly booklet that contains pieces of history and current events that is sold to the public.  

At the beginning I mentioned a “feather party” and thanks to Georgia Macy who dove into the Internet I can tell you more about it. This started in the 1920’s as a fund raiser in Detroit’s Eastside Polish community. The story goes that the Polish immigrants had never celebrated Thanksgiving so the churches decided to help out.

Turkeys, ducks, geese, pigs and rabbits were purchase at the local slaughter house and were kept over night in the school basement. Raffle tickets were sold at 10 cents each and the winners now had their food to take them home for preparation for the American holiday tradition. I was surprised that this event has been revived by the Sweetest Heart of Mary parish in the fall of 2002 and is still continuing.

Just a note that they now use frozen turkeys.

Leaders Of Our Department

1950 – 1951               Harris Daby
1952                 Clarence Snickles
1953                 Floyd Kingsley  
1954                 George Webb  
1955 – 1956               Steve Winters    
1957 – 1960               Kenneth Lucas  
1960 – 1962               Erwin Zahler 
1963 – 1968               Homer Jessmer II
1969                 Leroy Macy
1970 – 1971               John Cardinal
1971 – 1973               Harry Miller
1974 – 1978               Richard Daby
1979 – 1980               Ronald Streeter
1981                 Ernest Wood
1982 – 1984               Ronald Streeter
1985 - 1986       Donald Tebo
1986 – 1988               Ronald Streeter
1988 – 1991               Gerald Goldsworth
1992 – 1994               Ronald Streeter
1995 - 1996                John Perry
1996 – 1998               Gerald Goldsworth
1998 – 2008               Ronald Streeter


Firemen of The Year

Gerald Goldsworth          1979
Homer Jessmer II            1980
Clyde Hooper                  1981
Ronald Streeter               1982       
Donald Tebo                   1983               
Richard Daby                  1984
Donald Murry                  1985               
Bernard Smith                 1986
Erwin Zahler                   1987               
Ernest Wood                  1988
Homer Jessmer III           1989               
Loren Shattuck               1993
Ronald Streeter               2000               
Bernard Smith                 2006

 


A FIREMENS PRAYER

When I am called to duty, God
Whenever flames may rage:
Give me strength to save some life,
Whatever be its age:
Help me embrace a little child,
Before it is to late,
Enable me to be alert,
And hear the weakest shout,
And quickly and efficiently,
Put the fire out!
I want to fill my calling,
And to give the best in me,
To guard my every neighbor,
And protect his property,
And if according to your will,
I have to lose my life!
Please bless with your protecting hand,
My children and my wife.

 

In Memoriam
Our Brother Firemen


FIREMEN DON’T HAVE A CHANCE

When the fire trucks are delayed 40 seconds in traffic
People say: “It took them 20 minutes to get here”

When the trucks race at 40 MPH: “Look at those reckless fools”

When four men struggle with an eight man ladder:
“They don’t even know how to raise a ladder”

When firemen open windows for ventilation to reduce heat
In fighting a fire: “Look at the wrecking crew”

When they open the floor to get to the blaze:
“There goes the axe squad”

When the Chief stands back where he can see and direct
his men: “He is afraid to go where he sends his men”

If they make a good “Stop” folks say:

“The fire didn’t amount to much anyway”

If a lot of water is necessary: “They are doing
more damage with water than the flames”

If a fireman gets hurt: “He was a careless guy”

If a fireman inspects a citizen’s property:

“He is meddling in somebody’s business”

If they lose a building: “It’s a lousy department”

If he wants a fire hazard corrected:

“I’ll see the Mayor”

If he gets killed and leaves a family destitute:

“That’s the chance he took when he joined the

FIRE DEPARTMENT”

 

Thank God we continue our fire fighting endeavors and don’t listen to these people!!

 

I wish you could see

I wish you could know what it is like to search a burning bedroom for trapped children, flames rolling above your head, your palms and knees burning as you crawl, the floor sagging under your weight as the kitchen below you burns.

I wish you could comprehend a wife’s horror at three in the morning as I check her husband of 40 years for a pulse and find none. I start CPR anyway, hoping to bring him back, knowing intuitively it is too late. But wanting his wife and family to know every thing possible was done to try to save his life.

I wish you knew the unique smell of burning insulation, the taste of soot-filled mucus, the feeling of intense heat through your turnout gear, the sound of flames crackling, the eeriness of being able to see absolutely nothing in dense smoke- sensations that I’ve become too familiar with.

I wish you could understand how it feels to go to work in the morning after having spent most of the night, hot and soaking wet at a multiple alarm fire.

I wish you could read my mind as I respond to a building fire, “Is this a false alarm or a working fire? How is this building constructed? What hazards await me? Is anyone trapped? Or to an EMS call, what is wrong with the patient? Is it minor or life-threatening? Is the caller really in distress or is he waiting for us with a 2x4 or a gun?

I wish you could be in the emergency room as a doctor pronounces dead the beautiful five year old girl that I have been trying to save for the past 25 minutes.
Who will never go on her first date or say the words, “I love you Mommy” again.

I wish you could know the frustration I feel in the cab of the engine or my personal
vehicle, the driver with his foot pressing down hard on the pedal, my arm tugging again and again at the air horn chain, as you fail to yield the right-of-way at an intersection or in traffic. When you need us however, your first comment upon our arrival will be “It took forever to get here!”

I wish you could know my thoughts as I help extricate a girl of teenage years from the remains of her automobile. What if this was my sister, my girl friend or a friend?

What are her parents reactions going to be when they opened the door to find a police officer with his hat in his hand?

I wish you could know how it feels to walk in the back door and greet my parents and family, not having the heart to tell them that I nearly did not come back from the last call.

I wish you could feel the hurt as people verbally, and sometimes physically, abuse us or belittle what I do, or as they express their attitudes of “It will never happen to me.”

I wish you could realize the physical, emotional and mental drain or missed meals, lost sleep and forgone social activities, in addition to all the tragedy my eyes have seen.

I wish you could know the brotherhood and self-satisfaction of helping save a life or preserving someone’s property, or being able to be there in time of crisis, or creating order from total chaos. I wish you could understand what it feels like to have a little boy tugging at your arm and asking, “Is Mommy okay?” Not even being able to look in his eyes without tears from your own and not know what to say. Or to have to hold back a long time friend who watches his buddy having rescue breathing done on him, as they take him away in the ambulance. You know all along he did not have his seat belt on.

A sensation that I have become too familiar with.

Unless you have lived with this kind of life, you will never truly understand or appreciate who I am, we are, or what our job means to us…I wish you could though.
(Author unknown)

                “GOD BLESS OUR FIRE FIGHTERS"

 




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