Buffs Serve Fellow Citizens In a Variety of Ways
There is an endless variety of ways in which fire buffs can serve their fellow citizens of any age or status. For example, during a recent multiple-alarm fire in Baltimore’s Lincoln Convalescent Center, 112 evacuated patients had to be removed to other quarters. Several members of the city’s Box 414 Association helped in that task, for which they received grateful thanks from the home’s director and his staff.
Also in Baltimore, two members of Box 314, with one of their wives from the Ladies Auxiliary, took their canteen last winter to a city school for a presentation on the club and its activities in support of local emergency services. The association got a grateful letter from one of the sixth grade teachers, who said of the buff group, “Quite a few of my girls, along with the boys, would have liked to become a part of it themselves.” Her students were left “with a feeling of self-assurance and security that there are still some people in our city that care just for the sake of caring.” And the fire service itself was left with a favorable image in the process.
These are only examples. Baltimore enjoys no monopoly on such efforts, nor do big cities generally. But that metropolitan area seems particularly fortunate in having several active buff groups which this year are hosting the annual convention of the International Fire Buff Associates.
A convention highlight is the naming of a “Fire Buff of the Year.” Nominees are sought throughout the nation. For 1975, the one chosen was Dr. Arthur Devlin of the Bell & Siren Club, Newark. An orthopedic surgeon and teacher, Dr. Devlin has been a fire buff since his Newark boyhood over half a century ago. Newark fire fighters gave a testimonial dinner dance for him in 1962, attended by the city’s mayor and 500 guests, at which Dr. Devlin was appointed an honorary deputy chief in appreciation for “his services and devoted duty to the fire profession and for his humane concern for individual firemen.”
Dr.’ Devlin spends at least one night each week riding with the N.F.D rescue squad. A trained auxiliary fire fighter, he served for nine years as chief of Newark’s fire auxiliary corps. He has responded to at least 3000 fires since joining the Bell & Siren group 26 years ago.
Who will be the “Fire Buff of the Year” next year, or the year after? Could be somebody from your community, given encouragement and a chance to help by your department—just for the sake of caring.