Sea Breeze Volunteer Firemen’s Association
It is with great pride and gratitude that we, the present members of the Sea Breeze Fire Association, Inc. gaze back over the record of accomplishments in our 100 years of existence.
Our history reveals much to merit the early efforts of those faithful ones who gave their time and energies to see this organization develop into what it is today. Foresighted though these original members were, it is doubtful that they could have visualized an organization of protection of such nature as is the Sea Breeze Volunteer Fire Association of today.
To glance back over the record books is to show clearly the gradual, effective growth since it’s inception on October 9, 1908. To Frank X. Harter fell the privilege of calling to order the first meeting. Joseph Hubner acted as temporary chairman and Theodore Seitz as temporary secretary.
Preliminary work was quickly completed and the first slate of officers was elected as follows.
President Joseph Hubner First Vice President A.E. Allen
Treasurer M.F.Rebholz Secretary T.C. Seitz
Sgt. Of Arms Phil Leaderman
Comm. Of Public Safety Joseph Hubner
Chief F. X. Harter 1st. Assistant L. Geisler
2nd. Assistant Fred Grell 3rd. Assistant W. Shannon
Foreman M. Rebholz, Sr. 1st. Assistant T. Seitz
2nd Assistant C. Schaubert Chief Engineer F. Kruger
1st Assistant F. Lang 2nd Assistant F.Mildahn
November 6, 1908, less than a month after the date of organization, a movement was underway to incorporate the company, and the Rochester Trust and Safe Deposit Company was chosen as the official repository for the funds of the organization. Work for the betterment of the community began early. Among the first steps was the naming of a committee to wait on the Town Board regarding a petition for the funding of a fire district.
The first of the year 1909 found the organization already functioning efficiently. In January 1909, the first dance of the Association took place and the committee turned $209.25 into the treasury. Social activities of the Association have always been stressed.
The first fire of record occurred when one of the largest pavilions in the community burned on April 1, 1909. The loss from the fire was estimated at $25,000.00, but the efforts of the newly formed organized fire association did much to keep the damage from being much greater. The Association was presented a check from A.E. Allen for $20.00 in appreciation of its services in fighting this fire.
During the spring of 1909 the members witnessed demonstrations of fire apparatus and in April, the first fire equipment was purchased; six axes; one 24’, one 30’, and one 12’ ladder, one 8’ and one 10’ pike pole; one pull down hook; 10’ of chain; and 50’ of rope.
From this day on the procuring of additional equipment to assure the security of the residents was rapid. On May 2, 1909 the members witnessed the demonstration of an Ajax Chemical outfit and immediately purchased it for $175.00. At this time a Badger Chemical Machine was also purchased for $250.00 and was stored at the Kleindienst and Ries Store for the winter of 1909, and the Ajax was housed at the American Cottage Hotel.
October 18, 1909 was the date of the first parade attended by Sea Breeze, and one of the chemical machines was decked out with a sign for the occasion. October, 1909 records show that ten buckets were purchased with money donated by Frank Moore. October 22, 1909 saw the second election of the Association along with the adoption of monthly meetings to be held on the last Tuesday of the month. Meetings were attended at different hotels each month in alphabetic order. It is interesting to note that up to this time, meetings were held at the homes of various members or at their place of business.
The names of several people who had donated liberally to the organization at this time are shown on our records. Those included: C. Strauchen, M.J. O’Connor, Katharine Hoyt, J. Kubin. G. Knapp, Pastime Social Club, S. Heiminger, J. Palmer, Joseph Walzer, F. Walters, J. Hallack, W. Tedford, F. Bush, J. Wambach, G. Schlivan, W. Hoot, and Ben McVey.
March 22, 1910, the Constitution and By-Laws were read and approved.
The second annual dance took place on April 4, 1910 and was a success. Tickets sold for 25cents each.
The end of 1910 saw the donation of 25 pails, Trenkler donating 10, Allen 5, Hubner 5, and Harter 5,.
Application for membership in the Western New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association was moved at a meeting in January 1911. At this same meeting A. E. Allen, E. Trenkler and F. Bush were appointed to procure a fire alarm. On February of that year, Frank X. Harter resigned the presidency of the Association and E. Trenkler was elected to fill the vacancy. Martin Rebholz holds the honor of having been the first delegate of the Sea Breeze Volunteer Fire Association to attend a convention of the Western New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association. A. E. Allen was the alternate. 1911 also saw the Association receive more equipment, a 40’ extension ladder, which was stored at J. J. Hubner’s Hotel and a portable pump with hose.
Our Early Years
The Association was beginning to have growing pains. As more and more equipment was acquired, it became apparent that a storage area was necessary. A cottage rented from J.J. Hubner for $2.50, served the purpose. This cottage, although not housing the Chemical machines could be considered the first Firehouse.
February 27, 1912, A.E. Allen was elected as delegate to the Western New York Firemen’s Convention with E. J. Kleindienst and F. Kruger as alternates. This month also saw the members in uniform for the first time with the prevailing color being red. It is interesting to note that these uniforms were stored in empty whiskey barrels.
August of 1912 was a memorable month in our history for it was then that Frank X. Harter was elected Vice –President of the Western New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association. This organization celebrated the occasion fully. Speakers at the celebration included Supervisor L. Dubelbeis and Alderman H. Martens.
September 24, 1912 the offices of second and third assistant Chief and that of Fire Commissioner were abolished as non-essential.
In June of 1913 a committee was named to procure a steel hammer for the fire alarm. The record for August 20, 1913 written by Chief Allen details the destruction by fire of the Jail and adjacent toilets. Another fire with more humorous overtones was caused when the head of a parlor match caused $10.00 worth of damage to Wenn’s Novelty Stand. In September of 1913 badges were purchased for the first time.. During the several years that had passed, the original Constitution and By-Laws had become antiquated, and on January 14, 1914 new Constitution and By-Laws were adopted. It was also voted that ten members were needed to have a quorum.
June 30,1914 first steps towards a home for the Association were taken when a committee was formed to secure a lot for a building. The committee worked earnestly and on August 11th appeared before the organization with the welcome news that the New York State Railway Company had promised the organization the use of a lot for its building.
August 11, 1914 the Association also received permission from the Water Company to use their hydrants. One can only wonder what they used for a water supply before this authorization was given.
October 5, 1914 a committee was appointed to purchase not over 800’ of hose. They also purchased a hose reel from the Inter States Sales Company for $93.00. On December 7, 1914 an additional 500’ of hose was ordered.
January 18, 1915 the Association had its second real test when fire did $9,000.00 worth of damage to houses occupied by John Kondolf, C.A. Strauchen, Mrs. Lucy Vanderbelt, Anthony Weigand and Henry Koppelle.
Our First Real Firehouse
1915 was the year that we were to move into our own Firehouse located on the east side of Culver Rd. across from the present site. During the year much work was under way on the new building and on July 27, 1915 the members held their first meeting in their own building. Originally the cost for the lumber was not to exceed $150.00 but $382.96 was needed to complete the project.
August 31, 1915 a donation of a new bell was received from H. Newman and was highly accepted by the Association.
September 21, 1915 saw the resolution passed for incorporation of the Sea Breeze Fire Association.
September 26, 1916 the bell alarm on the building gave way to a new motor driven siren. The years 1916 & 1917 were generally spent improving the building to meet the needs of an ever growing Association.
Motorization of the department was begun on February 6, 1918, when a Pierce Arrow chassis was purchased for $600.00. Work began to outfit it as a fire truck, which was completed in May; George Gleason was elected as Captain. June 14, 1918 saw the new motorized truck used for the first time. The Chief’s log for July 19, 1918 shows that the jail burned, along with some concessions on the premises of the New York State Railway property.
June 14, 1918 we had a fire at the N.Y. Railway Co. Park. Grass and limbs had burned. It was listed as a still alarm. Two chemical extinguishers had been used and this was also the first mention of a motor truck in our records. The fire was checked in time to prevent a big blaze.
September 24, 1918 we purchased the old Police Station to be used as an addition to the firehouse for $1.00.
November 18, 1918 the motor driven siren on the building rang out in celebration of the signing of the Peace Armistice, ending World War I, referred to as the greatest war in the history of the world.
December 1918 the motorized truck was in dire need of repairs. The hose cart was reactivated until repairs were completed in February 1919.
The old Police Station proved to be a valuable piece of property. On February 8, 1919 it was sold to the Town for $1.00.
May 21, 1919 an entry was found in our record books that no one would ever like to write. A fire on the premises of Anna Michletesch located on lot 219 north side of Woodman St. (Rode Dr.) The tenant was Harry C. Magin and Family.
The following is how it was recorded in our log book.
May 21, 1919
To: Board of Directors of the Sea Breeze Volunteer Firemen’s Association.
Enclosed please find report of fire on premises of Anna Michletesch located on Lot #219, which was on the North Side of Woodman St.
Owner was Anna Michletesch.
Tenant was Harry C. Magin and family.
Time of alarm 5:45 p.m. May 21, 1919
Cause of fire: Children playing with matches
Two streams were played on fire for 2 hours.
Estimated loss of building and furniture of Anna Michletesh $1000.00
Insurance on same $600.00
Estimated loss on furnishings of Mr. Magin $700.00
Insurance on same $500.00
Five children of Mr. & Mrs. Magin were in building at time of alarm.
Four of whom were saved and a 2 year old male child was suffocated.
Home of Henry Vorich was also damaged to the extent of $75.00 insurance to cover
A side note on this fire is that this street is now known as Rode Dr. and lot # 219 is now known as # 34 Rode Dr. which was also the scene of a fatal fire in the 1980’s.
February 24, 1920 the old hose reel was sold to the Float Bridge Fire Association for $40.00.
March 17, 1920 the first St. Patrick’s Day Party was held. This then became an annual event.
In the spring of 1920 the town returned to the Association the old jail building. It was placed at the rear of the firehouse to be used as a storage building.
Truck #2 came into being on December 28, 1920 when the Association purchased a Ford Model T truck chassis to be equipped for fire service as a Chemical outfit. The job must have been done well because on November 29, 1921 the new truck was displayed at the Auto Show.
December 27, 1921 the Association approved the first Banquet for members and their wives or lady friends of single members. The Board of Directors was put in charge.
Chief Kleindienst entered into the log on March 25, 1922 at 9 p.m. a fire on the property of the New York State Railway on the shore of the bay that destroyed seven cottages. The owners were listed as John Sherrman, Fred Kreig, Fred Florack, John Potter and Val Webber. He estimated the loss at about three thousand dollars and the chief stated that this was one of the worst fires this department has had to deal with due to the sparks that were setting fire to the trees and underbrush which made it extremely dangerous. It took four hours to get it under control.
May 20, 1924 a fire was logged in at the Jack Rabbit in Sea Breeze Park. A pail of tar had ignited. There was no damage reported.
January 31, 1929 Chief Ray Rice entered into the log a fire at Durand Eastman School in the basement. The damage was estimated at $20,000.00. Thirty Four members responded to this alarm.
In 1929 there was several fires in Webster listed on the books. Some of these included $2000.00 damage to the home of Bessie Gesses on Oklahoma Beach, $10,500.00 damage to the home of Dr. D. O’Brien’s Forest Lawn home.
The late twenties and early 30’s were tough times for the country and Sea Breeze was no exception.
With renewed efforts at fund raisings in these hard times the Association remained sound and in the spring of 1930 purchased a Model A Ford chassis to outfit as a fire truck.
The thirties seemed to start out slow for our department. All recorded calls were rubbish and grass fires.
During November of 1930 the Association authorized a Poultry Sale. This is thought to be the first mention of what is now known as our Annual Turkey Raffle.
February 24, 1931 the Association voted to join the Monroe County Volunteer Firemen’s Association and on March 31, 1931 Frank X. Harter from Sea Breeze was elected President and Ray Rice also from Sea Breeze was elected Treasurer of the Monroe County Firemen’s Association.
There were a few fires in the early thirties worth noting. On October 10, 1932 there was a fire at the Van Dekken residence. Three people were removed from the fire. Two later succumbed to their injuries. August 21, 1933 there was a fire in the Hub Theater on Culver Rd.
September 8, 1933 the Association authorized the installation of Fire Boxes. These were to be located at Gascon’s, Fire House, Huntington & Culver Rd., Culver Rd. and Park Rd., and Elizabeth & White St.
Also on October 6, 1933 there was a fire in Sea Breeze Park with an estimated loss of $30,000 to property owner George Long. Then again on November 22 the department responded to the Rochester Coaster Corp. for a fire caused by spontaneous combustion.October 28, 1933 the Association held its 25th Anniversary Party at the fire house. Dinner to be a chicken dinner put on by R. Beachner. Also an Orchestra was hired to play for dancing from 10 to 1.
February 9, 1935 the first log entry using Box numbers, a fire in Long’s Bakery Truck.
June 6, 1936 there was a fire noted at Beale’s Garage on Culver Rd. A car owned by Alfred Goodall burned with no reported estimate of damage. On June 7, 1936 there was an alarm for a fire at the Sea Breeze Police Station. This was located on the north side of Culver Rd. at the intersection of Lake Bluff Rd. Loss of property was estimated at $100.00.
The thirties ended with several fires once again in Webster. A fire at the home of J. Forsyth on Forest Lawn caused an estimated $10,000.00 worth of damage. Chief Gleason wrote in his report that our pumper operated for 2 hours and used 950’ of hose at this fire. At 4:15 a.m. on May 21, 1939 Sea Breeze was called to the Ontario Coal & Ice Co. on Lake Rd. Chief Ed. Schlueter noted in log that this fire was out of district and that they had put down 900’ of hose and the pumper ran for 2 ¾ hours.
On May 1, 1940 an entry reads as follows “ 8:25 p.m. – Box 13- White St. corner of Electric Avenue.—Alarm given by Clayton Smaling of 2 Fawn St.- Sea Breeze, who discovered flames shooting through the roof of Dreamland Dance Hall in Sea Breeze Park. The building of frame construction and contents were a total loss. Owner of the building, Railway Properties Corporation, estimated the total loss to be $15,000.00. The building was leased to the American Legion Post #134 and used for Bingo games and Dancing. Equipment consisting of 3200 folding chairs, unit gas heaters, bingo equipment and public address system was estimated at $13,500.00. The nearby structure of the Jack Rabbit was also damaged to the estimated cost of $900.00. Origin of fire was undetermined. A workman was employed building an addition that day. Caretaker of the building, Geo. Reeners, reported to Chief Schlueter that he and Walter Rodenhouse, one of the tenants left and locked the building at 7pm and no evidence of fire was noted. Men and equipment from Sea Breeze, Point Pleasant, Ridge Culver and West Webster were called to assist at fire.”
In July of 1940 talks were held regarding importance of joining of the National defense due to World War II. Gas ration applications were filled out for the Association. Also at this time discussions were held regarding the Black-outs. The Association purchased $500.00 in War Bonds. As part of the Home Defense System members of Sea Breeze were used as Air Raid Wardens checking the district for mandatory darkness. Parties were held throughout the war with 50% going to the Red Cross and the other 50% divided up among the boys in the service from the district. Once the war was over the Association returned to normal, that of keeping peace with the times. This was done in December of 1948 when a new pumper was ordered to replace the old Ford Model A. A Chevy Pumper was purchased.
February 22, 1949 it was voted to raise the Active membership up from a maximum of 35 to 50.
Also on this date it was voted to install a large blackboard at Ollie Roth’s Gas Station to indicate location of alarms.
In 1951 the Association voted to not only purchase the building across the street at 4657 Culver Rd. but also agreed to purchase the lot at 4659 Culver Rd. which was just north of the building. This was the start of several years of work to remodel the new building and turn it into a firehouse. Much of the minutes of the fifties were dedicated to this project. The new building would not only become home to the fire equipment but also became home to the Sea Breeze Firemen’s Hall. This ballroom proved to be a worthwhile endeavor, for not only does it house the annual events of the Association; it is also available for rentals. As the 50’s drew to a close also did the beloved 1925 American LaFrance Pumper. It was replaced by a Mack Pumper.
One interesting occurrence that happened during the sixties was that during a party at our firehouse a member of the public was removed for causing a disturbance. This person then snuck back into the firehouse after the party and set fire to the attic area of our building. We luckily still had several people in the building at the time and one person actually saw the man leaving the firehouse and then noticed smoke in the kitchen area upstairs. The fire was extinguished but not until it caused extensive damage to the attic area. The attic would have to be rebuilt after this fire. One humorous note about this fire was the fact that because all of the Sea Breeze Fireman were busy upstairs with the fire they had to call in a Mutual Aid Fill In from Point Pleasant. Rumor has it that they, upon arriving at our firehouse, backed into the front truck bay for the fill in.
Another notable fire during the sixties was the Shorty’s Sea Breeze Inn Fire on Culver Rd. This restaurant was located across from the old Ollie Roth’s Gas Station. The fire required assistance from several other companies and the building was pretty much a total loss..
The 1970’s saw the realization that the fire service was becoming less fire and more EMS. In keeping with the times, the Association purchased a used Dodge Ambulance from the Barnard Fire District.. We could now treat and transport more efficiently. The early 70’s also saw the re-incarnation of the “Indians” Drill team and with it the influx of several new members. We also had several major fires in the early 70’s. One of the biggest was the Al’s Pizza fire at Lynn and Culver Rd. which also totaled the neighboring house. It was necessary that both structures were torn down. The only remaining sign of either of these buildings is the garage behind Trenkler’s Plumbing and the driveway aprons on Lynn Dr.
A fire on Trelawne Dr. was reported as having several dogs, cats and a very large Boa Constrictor trapped inside. While fighting the blaze one fireman backed out of the scene when he mistakenly thought a large diameter rope, which had fallen from the ceiling area onto his arm, was the Boa Constrictor. The fire resulted in the home being razed.
In 1975 a working fire was reported in the Motorcycle Shop adjacent to the Fire House in the former Gruhn’s Store location. Due to the nature of the motorcycle equipment and fuel inside it was determined to fight this fire from the exterior only. This structure was also torn down after the blaze. In addition we responded to several major fires in the mid 70’s out of our district. Two notable fires were the big pool warehouse fire in Webster and the Wambach’s Fire on Culver Rd. in the Ridge Culver Fire District. At the Wambach’s fire we were assigned to an area full of charcoal briquettes which turned into quite a chore to extinguish.
The late Seventies was also a time when Sea Breeze began a new and untried approach in our area to cover the ever increasing First Aid Calls. The Sea Breeze Ambulance Auxiliary was formed and comprised of mostly female members for daytime response. This system was the first in the area and worked well for a number of years.
As we entered the 80’s we saw the need for more updating of our equipment. Our 1958 Mack open cab Pumper and our much loved and storied Rescue Truck (Bread Wagon) were in need of replacement. So the gears were set in motion to somehow find the funds to purchase these new pieces of apparatus. In 1983 we took delivery of a Mack Pumper that was purchased through H.U.D. funds. This meant that our beloved Open Cab Mack would be made into a reserve pumper and retired. In 1986 we received another H.U.D. Block grant and purchased another Mack Pumper which would replace our Pumper 191. We now had two great pumpers and were ready for whatever came our way. During this time we purchased a Van truck and had it outfitted as a Mini Rescue Truck which replaced the 1958 Bread Wagon. The 80’s were a time of change for the Fire Service and the Association. 60% of all calls were now First Aid orientated and the need for Medics and further Medical Training of all our members.
One unique fire was in the summer of 1985 in the Waffle Stand at Sea Breeze Park. The workers had closed for the afternoon break and had forgotten to turn off the deep fryers. The building was damaged but saved by a quick response. Another notable fire in the 80’s was Don & Bob’s. Initially as our chief approached the scene he reported nothing showing but quickly changed that to a working Code 5 Fire after arriving. This fire was on January 17, 1982 and the temperature that day was 7 below zero which made the fire fighting extremely difficult. We were assisted by Point Pleasant & St. Paul at the fire. Most of the building had to be torn down due to extensive damage. The very next day Ridge Culver had two houses on Titus Ave. near Doris Rd. explode due to a natural gas leak. After the Don & Bob’s fire, and because of the buildup of ice, we had to put our Pumper 192 at Point Pleasants Station 1 to thaw out and had Pumper 191 at our Station to thaw out. We were just getting the trucks back in service when the Ridge Culver Fires came through. In October of 1988 we had a fatal fire on Rode Dr. at the Doings house. This house was full from floor to ceiling with clutter which made entry extremely difficult and slowed our search of the house. A female occupant was later found deceased. In the spring of 1989 we had another fatal fire on Rode Dr. This time the victim was found quickly but was deceased. It was determined the fire was caused by careless smoking. One firefighter was injured in this blaze when he fell through the floor into the basement.
The nineties will always be known as the era that we had our most devastating fire. We lost the much loved Carousel and most of the North End of Sea Breeze Park. The building housed not only the Carousel but also the Ghost Train, Goofy House, Arcade and the maintenance area that was housed on the lower level. This fire was caused by men working on the roof and was fully involved within minutes of the initial alarm. There was a major fire response that would involve multiple alarms and companies from all over to aid us. A list of Departments that responded includes Point Pleasant, St. Paul, Ridge Culver, Laurelton, West Webster, Webster, Union Hill, Brighton, Barnard, North Greece and the City of Rochester. The age of the building, construction style, lack of a sprinkler system and the lack of water pressure attributed to the loss. Our Fire Association, the people of the Rochester area and the George Long family descendents all shared in the sorrow for the loss of such an historical Carousel and it was a personal loss to all. You can see by the pictures how intense the fire was, it was far beyond saving but it did not make our job any easier. We not only had to extinguish this building but also had to protect the other structures and rides within the park. Two pumpers and crews remained throughout the night to water down hot spots.
The nineties also saw the re-establishment of the Sea Breeze “Indians” Drill Team. The team had to start from scratch and is today still on the track.
The nineties also saw the addition of a Hovercraft which would be used for ice and water rescues. This Hovercraft would turn out to be a real valuable piece of equipment.
A New Century Begins
As the world entered the new millennium we knew it was going to be a time of change for the Department. Everyone in the country was worried about what effect the new century would have on the computer systems. The Office of Emergency Control was also concerned about a system crash and all Departments were notified to be on the alert. However everything went smoothly and all worked well. The new Century also brought forth new mandates and regulations put in place by OSHA and the State of New York. This meant more time had to be spent in the training of all members, when fewer and fewer people were able to volunteer their time. The department’s first major fire was a duplex on Rode Dr. This was a stubborn fire due to construction, but the house was saved. Sea Breeze was assisted by Point Pleasant and West Webster in battling this blaze.
In 2007 our Hovercraft was called in to assist the Sodus Bay Fire Company in retrieving people out of the water after they had fallen through the ice. Even with the response time needed to transport the Hovercraft to Sodus Bay our crew was able to retrieve two people out of the water. This was a proud day for the crew and the entire Sea Breeze membership.
September 11, 2001
That September day started out like any other day in America but would end quite different. America would never be the same again. On this day our Country was attacked. Two planes flew into the World Trade Twin Towers and the ensuing fire brought the towers down. At the same time a plane flew into the Pentagon in Washington D.C. The collapse of the Twin Towers caused the loss of many lives. Many of the dead were New York City firemen who were also Long Island Volunteers. Several of these men killed were known by some of us which made the loss of lives even more personal. No one in America was left unaffected by this attack and loss of lives. The fire service now had to be trained in things such as chemical warfare; and be aware of Home Land Security.
In 2006 our department was able to receive a Home Land Security Grant to purchase a new pumper. In 2007 Sea Breeze took delivery of a brand new E-One Pumper. It is a beautiful piece of equipment and made all of our members proud and once again did not affect the tax payers of our District. Since 9-11-2001 training requirements have tripled and costs of living have soared making it more and more difficult to get volunteers who have the time to commit. Membership has dropped, and fund raising has had to increase. It is hoped that delivery of this valuable truck is a sign of an upward swing in the department and 100 years from now a new committee will be remembering your future.
The Drill Team
On August 31, 1937 the Association gave permission for the start of a Tournament Team to participate in competitive drills. The first truck used was a Buick Emergency Car which was converted for firematic use. The tournament team led by Fred Zahn won the Monroe County Drill of June, 1939. The Tournament (now known as “Drill”) Team was active throughout all of New York State and have won many trophies and championships throughout the years. They have also held many records for the different events. During the early sixties and again during the late seventies the Sea Breeze “Indians” were the rulers of the ladder events. The Drill team continues today as an excellent tool to recruit new and younger members. With the exception of a few years the Drill team has run continuously since it was formed in 1937. This year the drill team was able to acquire a new tractor trailer type hauler with a trailer that fits both trucks on it and also enough storage space to haul and store all the teams’ equipment.
Sea Breeze Ladies Auxiliary
From our By-Laws
The Sea Breeze Volunteer Firemen’s Association was formed. THE PURPOSE OF THIS AUXILIARY IS TO HAVE REGULAR MEETINGS AT WHICH OUR MEMBERS CAN MEET, ENTERTAIN, AND BE ENTERTAINED. MEET SOCIALY AND FRATERNALLY, ASSIST ONE ANOTHER AND ALSO THE FIREMEN, WHENEVER OUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED.
WE ARE PROUD OF OUR HISTORY
October, 1908, but it wasn’t until 1912 that the Ladies Auxiliary joined them under the guidance of their first President Eleanor Flesch. The first meetings were held in private homes of their members and in 1918 the ladies officially became known as the Sea Breeze ladies Auxiliary. As such, under the Presidency of Ida Seitz, $400.00 was donated to the Sea Breeze Firemen’s Association. This money was raised by hosting card parties, “socials” and thus began years of working at fund raisers to support the efforts of the fire department. These women worked along side the men at bazaars, card parties, dances, baked food sales, ect. to help raise funds for the procurement of equipment to protect the district.
One such fund raiser was in 1930, the 1st. Annual Turkey Party, then known as a poultry Sale.
The Auxiliary was not, however, only a social organization. During WWII and in post war times, ladies of the Auxiliary competed and were successful in First Aid Drills, winning numerous trophies.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s some members of the Auxiliary formed a drill team, marching in competitions and winning many throughout the County. Their uniforms were military type in dark blue with a red shield. They marched tall and proud and spent many hours every week on their complicated drill formations. Teams from other companies knew that Sea Breeze was the one to beat.
One of the social Annual events that the Auxiliary sponsored and one that was mast looked forward to each year, was the Halloween Party. Usually held the last Saturday of October it was one of the biggest fund raisers for the Auxiliary. People dressed in various types of costumes and prizes were given. It was always successful and most of the monies earned were used to purchase or replace much needed equipment for the fire company.
Another venue for the members was to assist when volunteers were needed to answer calls for medical assistance during daytime hours. Several women belonging to the Auxiliary were asked to join the Fire Association as an Ambulance Auxiliary. These ladies went through rigorous instruction necessary to fulfill this obligation and ably filled a void created by the times.
Of course the women of the Auxiliary were always on hand to get to the firehouse at all hours to prepare refreshments during times of disaster i.e. the Ice Storm and the Carousel fire.
Unfortunately, in 1997, when membership had decreased, meetings were cancelled. However, when needed, the response is still active in times of emergencies.
Our hope is that this will not be the end of the story just the latest chapter in the long history of the Sea Breeze Volunteer Firemen’s Association Inc.