A golden anniversary

Ellenboro Fire Department celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Mar. 11, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

Ellenboro Fire Department is a half-century old.

celebrated its 50th on Thursday, March 6 and held special event honoring the community to celebrate.

The celebration was held at the station on Saturday with food, music and activities for children.

“We wanted to do this to give back to the community and show them our appreciation for the support they have given us during these 50 years,” Robbie Downey, assistant fire chief, said.

The theme for the celebration was “Dedication.” Fire Captain Mike Jones talked to community members about the history of the department and said without their support, none of it would have been possible.

According to Jones, the department was developed in 1964 after several field and woods fires broke out in the community. The Cliffside Fire Department and Polkville Fire Department extinguished the fires but it was decided that the community needed a local fire department.

The Ellenboro Volunteer Fire Department was organized in March 1964. The first chief was John Edwards and Paul Tisdale provided a building and donated $250,000 to get the department started.

The first vehicle for the department was a two-ton truck with a 1,000 gallon tank strapped onto the chassis using a heavy cable. A little later two Army weapon carriers were obtained through the civil defense for $300 and were equipped with pumps and tanks.

On Sept 26, 1965 the land where the current station exists was purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Yates Martin. The ground was broken on Jan. 1, 1966 and members of the community provided labor, materials and support in the construction of the current building. The money to operate the department was raised by continuous fundraising such as ham suppers, bake sales, homemade ice cream, an annual Thanksgiving dinner, bingo raffle sales, parking cars at the Colfax Free Fair and solicitation of area businesses and community members for money.

“As a member of this department and a member of the community, I would like to thank God for the dedication of all the past, present and future members,” Jones said. “Also for the families for their sacrifice they endure in the absence of their loved one while they are away from home, out helping someone in need. To be a firefighter is truly a calling.”

From 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. on Saturday, free barbecue was provided to the community by Smokestack Barbecue, owned by former firefighter Brian Lowery and his business partner Bruce Bradley.

“They asked me to cook for them and we did it free of charge. They bought the material and we cooked it,” Lowery said. “Doing the barbecue is a good way to meet people. We do it as a hobby.”

Along with the food, including desserts made by the Hopewell Hollis Ruritan Club, there were also inflatables, cornhole and a smokehouse to keep children entertained.

Ellenboro fire department memorabilia was also on display. Items included helmets, masks, air tanks and various awards the department has won over its 50 years.

“This anniversary makes us golden because it’s our golden anniversary,” Fire Chief Terry Horn said. “With the girls and guys we have here and the dedicated service they give to our community, they are definitely deserving of the word golden.”