Greene County Fire Chiefs Association

Greene County Fire Chief's Association

copied from the Centennial Booklet One-Hundred Years of Fire Service History 1889 - 1989,  by Sharon Palmateer

A meeting was held on September 26, 1951 at the Citizens Hose Co. #5 quarters in Catskill.  Those in attendance were Greene County fire chiefs, assistant chiefs and fire line officers.  The meeting was called to order by the Second Assistant Fire Chief Coral Couchman of Catskill, who was appointed temporary chairman.  First Assistant Chief Elmer Young was appointed temporary secretary.
The following Greene County fire chiefs were in attendance:  Clyde Spaulding of Windham, Fred Howard of Lexington, Leonard Edwards of Palenville, Bud Hommel of Tannersville, J. A. Howard of Hunter, Burton Mattice of Oak Hill, Alfred Stacey of Coxsackie and Pete Bogardus of Kiskatom.  Assistant chiefs attending were Clifford Andrus of Windham, Jim Casino of Palenville, Richard Kerr of Tannersville, Nick Chimato of Hunter and Grover Roberts of Coxsackie.  The only past chief in attendance was Frank Van Schaack of Coxsackie.
Representing rescue squads from Greene County were Fred Hanna, Captain of Catskill squad and Robert Hommel, Captain of Tannersville squad.
Chairman Couchman introduced the following guests from the Columbia County Chief's Association:  President Morton Hallenbeck, Second Vice President Daniel Bartholomew and Fire Commissioner Edward Hoffman.  They stated that the Columbia County organization was founded in 1935 and was very active.  Their purpose in attending our meeting was to exchange ideas; discuss problems between different fire companies; organize and help plan mutual aid, training and cooperative drills; and promote fellowship resulting in better fire protection for the taxpayers.
After a question and answer period, Chairman Couchman asked how many present were in favor of forming a Chief's Association.  The vote was unanimous.  He then appointed a nominating committee which would present the following slate:  a president, a first and second vice president, a treasurer and a secretary.  He also appointed a Board of Directors who would be made responsible for drawing up a set of by-laws.
The next meeting was scheduled to be held in Coxsackie at Hose Company #1 on October 25, 1951.  At this meeting a slate of permanent officers would be selected and by-laws would be presented for approval.
The President of the Columbia County Fire Chief's Association asked that one of the first tasks of this newly formed organization be to write letters to the Governor, State Senators and Assemblymen asking for the legalization of Bingo as a fund raising activity.
The second meeting was held in Coxsackie at Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, and the following officers were elected:  President - Coral Couchman, Catskill; First Vice President - H. Hommel, Tannersville, Second Vice President - C. Burton Mattice, Oak Hill, Secretary - L. Edwards, Palenville, Treasurer - Hugh Lee, Ashland.  The Board of Directors were:  Winnie Wheat - New Baltimore, Al Howard -Hunter, Ray Lawyer - East Durham, A. L. Stacey - Coxsackie and L. Edwards - Palenville.
Annual dues of the organization were $1.00 per year.
The third meeting was held in Hensonville, at which time the set of by-laws was presented and accepted.  Dues were collected and membership cards were issued.  At this meeting, it was realized that L. Edward of Palenville was elected Secretary and also a member of the Board of Directors.  This was not in accordance with the by-laws; therefore, Clyde Spaulding was appointed to replace L. Edwards on the Board of Directors.
A mutual aid program was started and a discussion of fire training was planned for the fall.
In May 1954, a committee was appointed to work with the Fire Advisory Board for a county-wide radio system.
On May 19, 1958, a committee met with the County Supervisors to plan for a training facility and program for Greene County firemen.  It was also reported that the fire radio system was completed and in operation.
The Fire Chiefs' Association has been very active since the first get together in 1951.  The following is a list of a few of their many accomplishments:
    May 22, 1961 - The Fire Chief's Association was incorporated as "The Greene County Fire Chief's Association, Inc.".
    March 19, 1962 - By-laws were revised and voted to take effect immediately.
    January 21, 1963 - Discussed and approved a color code system to be used in the county.
    November 15, 1965 - A Blood Bank was formed with the cooperation of Bender Laboratories for the use of Greene County Firemen.
    1969 - A pool of 13 companies contributed $50.00 each to purchase surplus equipment from the government.
    January 1974 - The Association sponsored a booth at the Youth Fair to be held in Durham, N. Y.
    September 1975 - Invalid stickers were purchased and given out by the Greene County Firemen.
Hopefully, in the years to come, the Greene County Fire Chief's Association will continue to foster the welfare and activities of all firematic interests on the County, State and Federal levels.
The present officers are:  President - Gary Goodrich, Hunter; First Vice President - Louis O'Connor, Kiskatom; Second Vice President - John Farrell, West Athens; Secretary - Darroll Hutson, Cairo; and Treasurer - John Gallagher, Kiskatom.

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