History of the Ladies Auxiliary

of the

East Durham Volunteer Fire Company, Inc

-taken from the Greene County Volunteer Firemen’s Association 114th Annual Convention Ad Book

September 2, 2002

 

            The Ladies Auxiliary of the East Durham Volunteer Fire Company was organized on October 21, 1927, at Lawyer’s Hall, East Durham.  Its aim and purpose being to help defray the expenses of the Fire Company.  Nine members organized the Auxiliary that night with forty-five more ladies joining during the first year.

 

            The activities of the Ladies Auxiliary have been varied and many.  Bake sales, suppers, annual dinners, dances and raffles are held to raise funds to equip the kitchen in the meeting hall and to support the firemen with extras such as hose ramps, coats, boots, tables and chairs.

 

            In 1967 when East Durham hosted the Greene County Volunteer Firemen’s Convention, the ladies took a more active part in the County organization.  Several ladies jointed the Greene County Ladies Auxiliary and the ladies hosted at a buffet dinner at the Weldon House for the Convention.

 

            Eight meetings are held during October to May and in June a Dutch Treat dinner is held in a nearby restaurant.  At this dinner, any lady celebrating 50 or 25 consecutive years as a member is treated to dinner.  The 50 year member receives a 50 year gold pin and a bouquet of flowers and the 25 year member receives her 25 year silver pin and a life membership card.

           

            The December meeting used to be combined with the men’s meeting and a Christmas party followed with the ladies furnishing a buffet of delicious foods.  In 1974 an installation of officers was held for the first time.  Finally, a catered diner was held and then a band was hired and everyone was able to enjoy the party including the committee which is where we are today.

 

            The year 1977 came in with a bang.  East Durham was to host the Greene County convention again.  This time, the ladies worked alongside the men throughout the whole convention – from planning to end.  The ladies provided a delightful dinner at Mullan’s Mountain Spring Hotel for 250 county ladies.  After dinner a mock wedding was held at the Grange Hall with the cast mostly made up of members of the Auxiliary and Fire Company.  This hilarious event was completed by a reception at Hans and Gretels Restaurant with the ladies following the bridge and groom in their decorated wheelbarrow up Route 145, stopping all traffic in the village.  On parade day, 18 women marched in the gala parade in their new blue and red uniforms.  Four women rode in a car and three 50 year members also were riding in the parade.  The ladies looked especially nice and were proud of their new uniforms and banner.

 

            The banner stayed the same, but in 1982 the Ladies decided to change their capes, blue blouses and blue hats to white blouses, red vests and to add white hats so we were similar to the med.  The white shoes were already in place.  A couple of trophies were added to the collection.

 

            In April of 1987, the Ladies decided that they should adopt a fireman at the NYS Firemen’s Home in Hudson.  After contacting the Home, they adopted Louis Caseragola as their first buddy.  When Larry Goff, one of our own firemen, went into the home, he was automatically adopted as well as Otto (Dickie) Fuegmann when he was admitted to the home.

 

            The Town of Durham Chamber of Commerce used to have Christmas for the children but ran out of money and personnel so in December 1988, the need for a Christmas party for the children of the Town of Durham was once again realized.  In cooperation with the Oak Hill – Durham Volunteer Fire Company, a party was held each December alternating fire houses with the arrival of Santa Claus amid all the festivities and gifts.

 

            January 1990 saw a by-law change to allow any lady 18 years or older to join the Auxiliary thereby opening up the membership to the community.  This also allowed some of the Albany County ladies who were interested in attending the Greene County convention to join in the festivities by becoming members of East Durham Ladies Auxiliary.  Several are still members today.

 

           

 

            The year 1997 started the search for new uniforms.  After many sessions with the men, the ladies ordered the same white shirt with gold and green accessories as the men with the exception that the Ladies would wear black skirts.  Black shoes, and white hats were ordered as well.

 

            Many of our activities have not changed over the years.  The Town of Durham changed its polling place to one central place, the East Durham engine room and the Ladies prepared dinner for the public as well as lunches for the inspectors for many years.  This was a profitable fund raiser for the Auxiliary as well as a much appreciated meal for the inspectors.

           

            Over the years, the Auxiliary was proud to have their ladies serve in the County as well as Hudson Valley organizations.  Beverly Jennings served in all offices of the Greene County Ladies Auxiliary with the exception of Treasurer, as well as eleven years in the offices of Treasurer, Secretary and Financial Secretary in Hudson Valley Ladies Auxiliary.  Diane Sala has served in many offices of the Greene County Ladies Auxiliary.  Laurie Jennings served as Treasurer of the Greene County Ladies Auxiliary as well.  All of these ladies have put a lot of effort and time into their duties as well as keeping up with their own East Durham Auxiliary.

 

            The Auxiliary has participated in a few drill days when they can find the time and participates and are still hosing the Spring Roast Beef dinner on the first Sunday in May.