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Firetrucks amble down Hancock's Main Street

August 07, 2010|By MARIE GILBERT
  • A line of fire and rescue vehicles parade through Hancock Saturday afternoon, including a pumper truck from Hagerstown with mascot Sparky on top.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

HANCOCK -- It was a slice of Americana -- a parade through the center of town on a hot summer afternoon.

Spectators lined the street, children enjoyed snow cones and a color guard marched to the sound a steady drum beat.

But people had come to see firetrucks. And they weren't disappointed.

About 50 pieces of fire apparatus made their way down Main Street on Saturday during a parade sponsored by the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association.

The event was the culmination of the association's four-day convention hosted by the Hancock Volunteer Fire Co.

This year marks the 109th anniversary of the nonprofit organization, which includes membership from Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Delaware.

During an installation of new officers, Greg Yost, chief of Hancock's fire company, was named the new president.

The convention originally was scheduled to take place in Harrisburg, Pa., said Hancock's assistant chief, Danny Shirley. But after the mayor of Harrisburg nixed plans for hosting the convention, Hancock stepped in to take over.

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"Hancock should be given a lot of credit for pulling this together at the last minute," said Robert S. Kefauver, a member of the Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway. "They nobly picked up responsibility and ran with it. In my opinion, Chief Greg Yost and the entire group of firefighters have done a yeomen job."

Shirley said about 300 people attended this year's convention and many volunteer companies participated in the firetruck parade.

A mix of old and new apparatus filed down Main Street, including firetrucks and tech support vehicles.

Many spectators took photographs of antique firetrucks from Keyser, W.Va., and McConnellsburg, Pa. Of particular interest was a green 1940 Pirsch firetruck from the Old Dominion Historical Society.

Kefauver was among those spectators taking photos during the parade. The local firefighter said he has 3,000 to 5,000 photos of firetrucks in his collection.

"I've been doing this a long time -- taking pictures and volunteering as a firefighter," he said.

Kefauver said he began volunteering at the age of 15, "when I thought it would be great to get out of school for a fire. I never thought then that I would be doing this 45 years later. I'm still into it and deep as ever."

Maryanne Latimer of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., was among the spectators who brought lawn chairs to watch the parade. She was accompanied by her two grandsons, Michael, 6, and Andrew, 4.

"I heard about the parade a few days ago and knew my grandchildren would love to see this," she said. "Like most kids, they love firetrucks; so, in their opinion, this is the best day ever."

Danny Shirley said Hancock hosted the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firefighters Association convention in 2002 and 2004, and the firetruck parade always has drawn good crowds.

"I went into town earlier and there were people selecting their spots at 11 a.m.," he said.

The parade was all about brotherhood and pride, plus a little competition, he said. A number of prizes were awarded, including the best apparatus out of state and the firetruck that traveled the greatest distance.

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