Boston Sparks to Celebrate 30th Anniversary in May
Bells, Buffs and Blazes
The Boston Sparks Association, Inc., this year is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Its roster includes some of the nation’s most dedicated buffs, who are otherwise employed as business and professional men. The Sparks are particularly proud this year to point out that one of their members, Vin Bolger, was recently promoted to district fire chief of the Boston Fire Department. Vin formerly skippered Ladder 30.
To commemorate its anniversary, the Sparks are planning a celebration dinner May 20 in Florian Hall. Judging from what Dick Bangs, a director of the Sparks, tells me on his frequent visits to Los Angeles, it should be quite an affair. Co-chairmen are Bill Murphy and Bolger.
Amidst their celebrating, the Sparks were continuing to look for new quarters as a result of plans to demolish the building in which their present digs are located. President of this hearty group is Bob Ranstrom. John Forde and Fred Babcock are vice president and secretary, respectively. Ralph Alden is treasurer.
In publishing, rare indeed is the magazine or book that is virtually a guaranteed sell-out, year after year. The Visiting Fireman is one of these rarities.
The 1968 edition of this annual almanac and compendium of information will soon make its appearance, reports publisher Ed Damaschke.
While this year’s content still is in the writing and planning stage, Ed reports that once again the book will feature articles of interest not only to fire chiefs and firemen—both volunteer and paid— but to the myriad numbers of fire buffs and businessmen with a professional interest in fire fighting.
This year’s opus sounds like a bigger and better volume than ever. Ed expects the book will be out about May 1. The 14th edition of The Visiting Fireman is available for $1.50, postpaid, at Box 55, Ferndale, Mich. 48220.
A letter from Elmer Koehler, 3019 Field Street, Longview, Wash. 98632, recalls the days when the late Michael J. Corrigan was fire marshal and later fire commissioner of Chicago. He’s certainly correct when he refers to Corrigan as one of Chicago’s colorful chiefs. I can remember those blizzard nights when I, a newspaper reporter, covered fires which Commissioner Corrigan directed. He was, at least in those later years that I knew him, a gentle man, and it was a pleasure to sit in his office with him on the first floor of City Hall and talk of cabbages and kings and firemanic sorts of things. Yes, Elmer, your letter did evoke happy memories.
Speaking of Chicago, those who have (regretfully, as I did) left the city will be interested to hear that the famous Squad 3, at one time regarded as the busiest fire outfit in the world, has at last been disbanded. Suggest disbandonment back in the 1940s and 1950s and Chicago fire fans would have thought you insane. But the area has changed considerably.
The 5-11 Fire Fans Club, incidentally, recently announced that its annual Fireman of the Year Award was shared by Lieutenants Anthony H. Schulz and Fran cis C. McCarthy. McCarthy, of Hook and Ladder 54, rescued an entire family from a burning home. Schulz’ award was for his successful repulse of an attempted kidnapping of a woman. The incident occurred while he was off duty. He is assigned to headquarters.
Followers of the (now dormant, I hope) “competition” between Chicago’s Snorkel Squad 3 and New York’s Engine 231, Ladder 120 and Battalion 44 in New York can harken to a postscript. An annual four-year scholarship has been established by St. John’s University in honor of one of its alumni, Fireman 1st Grade Daniel J. Tracy of Ladder 120.
On three separate occasions, Tracy risked his life to save a total of eight persons from fires. He rescued five children in 1965, a mother and daughter in 1966, and an infant boy last July. The scholarship, available each year, will cover full tuition and fees in any of the university’s four-year colleges for the dependent of a present, retired or deceased member of the FDNY.
Tracy, 35, is married and the father of three children. He graduated from St. John’s College of Business Administration in 1959, one year after joining the fire department.
Additional recognition also has been forthcoming for another of the Battalion 44 stalwarts—John Weisberger. After ringing up 47 years as a reporter for the New York Journal-American, John retired and was extolled in the New York Police Department’s Spring 3100 magazine. John is an honorary assistant fire chief in the FDNY and now is happy as a clam as he spends much of his retirement at Battalion 44. He does, however, pick up his mail at 1970 East 18th Street, Brooklyn, N. Y. 11229, in the event you wish to correspond with him or send him buff newsletters and kindred material for his avid reading interests.