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Democrat Photo by Fred Stabbert III

Leisure Time Spring Water Bottles help advertise the upcoming parade.

Parade Expected to Draw 20,000

By Fred Stabbert III
MONTICELLO — April 4, 2000 -- Mr. Willy’s in Monticello was filled to the rafters Sunday afternoon, as firemen and auxiliary members from throughout the Hudson Valley descended on Sullivan County’s capital to hear plans about the upcoming Hudson Valley Firemen’s Parade and Convention to be held in the village on June 14-17.
“We already have 100 fire departments, 53 bands and 176 pieces of fire fighting apparatus coming,” parade co-chair Carl Houman said. “We will also have 33 ladies auxiliaries marching.”
Houman and Gary Lasher, who is also parade co-chair, were busy on Sunday, explaining how the parade was progressing and signing up new departments to participate.
The 111-year-old Hudson Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Assn. (HVVFA) is headed this year by Gerald Day of Delmar.
“This is the largest of the eight sections in the state,” Day said. “We stretch from Lake Placid to New York City and encompass 16 counties.
“We expect to have upwards of 20,000 people attending this year’s events,” Day said.
The HVVFA has had several past presidents from Sullivan County, including the late Robert S. York of Monticello, the Hon. Lawrence H. Cooke (1962-63) of Monticello, Robert Sherwood (1994-95) of Liberty and, most recently, Hurleyville’s Nelson Durland, who was president from 1997-98.
In fact, the Monticello Fire Dept. recently announced that Judge Cooke would be the Grand Marshall of this year’s event in honor of his 61 years of service to firematics.
“That’s what they tell me,” Judge Cooke said modestly. “I’ve been a Monticello firemen since 1939, and my grandfather, Henry, was one of the organizers of the company in 1875.”
Cooke also recalled Robert S. York, who was “a wonderful fireman and a wonderful friend.
“He was a director of Hudson Valley for 25 years, and we went to many conventions together,” Cooke said.
Community Already Involved
Houman said plans for the four-day event have been five years in the making.
The firemen will be hosting a multitude of events, including a field day at Monticello Raceway, two parades along Broadway (a Mardi Gras Parade on Friday, June 16 and Dress Parade on Saturday, June 17), a golf outing at the Concord and a business meeting and convention.
“The convention will take place at Kutsher’s Country Club,” Houman said. “There will also be fireworks displays on two nights and we will be having a marching band competition.”
To help promote the event, Leisure Time Spring Water in Kiamesha Lake agreed to print up water bottle labels with the parade information on it.
The water is being sold at stores throughout the Hudson Valley, thus promoting the event to all its water drinking customers.
Time to Celebrate
The parade will also help Monticello Fire Dept. celebrate its 125th year of service to the community.
Founded in 1875, the company has a rich and strong history of community service to the greater Monticello area.
“And the Hudson Valley Ladies Auxiliary will also be turning 25 years old in June,” Houman said.
And what would a big parade be without some international flavor?
Monticello fireman Henry Good, a noted trucker who has spent considerable time in Europe, was asked by the department if he would like to invite some firemen from Germany.
“I’ve met a lot of these men through all my tours and we now have 22 firemen and 3 of their wives coming to the parade,” Good said yesterday morning. “They are coming from Enden, Germany and a few neighboring towns and they will be here from June 12 until June 23.
“We hope to set up a tour of the Newark Fire Dept. and also a fire department in New York City,” Good said.
Good said more firemen wanted to come, but he can’t find any more rooms for them in Monticello.

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