Sullivan County Democrat
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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

ROBERT SCHROEDER JR., 10, enjoys watching the firefighters’ parade make its way down Main Street in Livingston Manor while wearing his dad's dress uniform hat on Saturday. His father, Robert Schroeder Sr., is a member of the Livingston Manor Fire Department. The younger Schroeder was joined by cousin Jaclyn Feffer, 10, of Walden. Like these two, everyone had a good time.

County's Major
Parade a Hit

By Ted Waddell
LIVINGSTON MANOR — August 5, 2003 – “It’s fantastic – it’s a spectacle,” said Paul “Redneck” Decker as he watched the 75th Annual Sullivan County Volunteer Firefighters’ Association (SCVFA) Parade make its way down Main Street in Livingston Manor on Saturday.
Along the sidelines, “Redneck” was joined by his parents and 86-year-old grandmother Frances in watching the county’s finest and their brother and sister firefighters from neighboring departments brace a sweltering afternoon to show the spirit of firematics camaraderie and display both antique and state-of-the-art apparatus.
The 2003 SCVFA Parade was hosted by Station 18, the Livingston Manor Fire Department.
According to 1st Lt. Randy Hoag, Livingston Manor was honored to host the annual parade in 1976 and 1991.
He has been serving his community as a volunteer firefighter for 27 years, and along with many local folks in the area, represents a long-standing tradition of risking their lives to protect their fellow man in times of fire and disaster.
His father Dave Hoag joined Livingston Manor’s Hoos Truck Co. in 1952 and was chief of the local department in 1967. Today, his grandson Charlie serves in the department.
“It goes on and on.” said Randy Hoag. “Now I’m going through the line the second time.”
As the elder firefighter in the Hoag family relaxed alongside “almost” 83-year-old Otto Hoos after the escort division passed the judge’s stand, the two “old-timers” opened a door on history.
“I joined the Hoos Truck Company as soon as I turned 16,” said Hoos. He served as chief in 1946.
His take on the 75th annual SCVFA Parade, in which he rode shotgun in Manor’s classic 1916 Motel T Ford, the first factory-built motorized pumper in Sullivan County:
“They worked hard to put in on,” he said. “Everybody said it was going to rain, but I bet ‘em that it was going to be the nicest day. And it was.
“We don’t back down from nobody,” he said., “We’ve got the best fire service in Sullivan County.”
Hoag, now 69, joined the department in 1952.
“The volunteers are great, God bless ‘em,” he said.
The original Livingston Manor Fire Department was organized in 1891 and incorporated as Manor Hose Company #1 on Jan. 14, 1909.
Due to concerns about the O&W Railroad cutting off half the town in case of a fire on the other side of the tracks, Hoos Truck Company #2 was incorporated in 1923.
Today, both companies are joined to form the Livingston Manor Fire Department.
Before the parade kicked off, Kelly Taggart, a member of the Livingston Manor Ladies Auxiliary, pulled duty as the department’s “official de-linter” as she spruced up the dress uniform jackets of the local firefighters, including her husband’s.
Briggeet Heward of Parksville sat on the stone wall along Main Street in front of the 1939 high school to get a birds-eye view of the parade. She wore a red and white “Uncle Sam” hat, just the ticket for a firefighters’ parade.
Dalmations were a big hit, as well. Bob Kirk of the Hortonville Fire Department escorted “Pongo” in the line of march, and a bunch of Scouts kept their spotted dog firmly on leash.
“It was a great parade,” said Richard “Dick” Martinkovic, Sullivan County Fire Coordinator. “Livingston Manor did a great job of putting it together.
“It was a great turnout, and the people of the community really showed up to support us,” he added. “They showed the volunteers that they appreciate what we do for them every day. . . . This is the day we show off as volunteers, and we show off our strength.”
Paul Hemmer serves as the SCVFA recording secretary and chairman of the Sullivan County Fire Advisory Board.
“The parade means a lot to the county,” he said. “It gets the fire departments out there on display and lets the people we serve see us and our equipment, the men and women who are actually doing the job.
“The job of the volunteer firefighter has changed dramatically since the turn of the century,” said Hemmer. “It’s not your old-time firefighting anymore, [and] today training is the key, especially with the homeland security issues we face now.”
Speaking of volunteerism, the folks at SCVFA are looking for a local department to host next year’s 76th Annual Parade.
As the 75th Annual SCVFA Parade marched past the reviewing stand, it passed beneath a huge 40’x60’ American flag acquired by the SCVFA about a month ago. During the parade, it was suspended from aerial apparatus from the Liberty and Fallsburg fire departments.
In the wake of all the pomp and circumstance of a traditional firefighters’ parade, the members of the local firefighting community and some local kids helped fold up the gigantic flag – which is destined to fly again over a street in Sullivan County.
See more photos – and the list of award winners – in Friday’s issue.

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