Association Holds Its Biggest Convention—Treasury in Flourishing Condition—Chief Behrens Honored for Services as President

THE veteran president of the South Carolina State Firemen’s Association, Chief Louis Behrens, of the Charleston Fire Department, in his address at the twenty-first annual convention of that body in Charleston, on June 24 and 25, spoke earnestly in favor of the general adoption by states of the tax on insurance for the benefit of firemen’s pensions.

The convention was the best the association has ever held, the attendance exceeding that of any other gathering of the body. The association was called to order by President Behrens at noon of June 24, at the Hotel St. John, Charleston, and was opened by an invocation by Rev. R. T. Peyton, chaplain of the association, followed by an address of welcome by Mayor Thomas P. Stony. Following an address by Chief William B. Cody, of Atlanta, Ga., eulogistic of the services of President Behrens to the association, Ex-Chief Thomas W. Haney, of Jacksonville, Fla., presented Chief Behrens with a handsome loving cup. The delegations from Georgia and Florida were roundly cheered. Another presentation, made by Chief Emeritus T. O. S. Dibble, was from the members of the association, and consisted of a silver service. The Charleston Fire Department also gave Chief Behrens a large basket of flowers.

The election of officers resulted in the unanimous choice, for the twenty-second time, of Chief Behrens as president; Chief A. McC. Marsh, of Columbia, was reelected first vice president; Chief P. E. Wilburn, of Union, second vice president; R. S. Hood, of Sumter, secretary; Chief T. O. Flowers, of Rock Hill, was reelected treasurer; and R. T. Peyton, of Rock Hill, was reelected chaplain. Darlington was chosen as the meeting place for the 1927 convention.

The president in his annual address, after referring to the flourishing condition of the association, and the marked increase in membership, spoke of the advantages derived from the 1% tax on fire insurance premiums, and urged the adoption of this legislation by all states. From the 66 cities and towms having fire departments and having the the power to levy 1% tax on all such premiums collected within their limits, a total of $32,362.43 had been received, an increase of $2,259.93 over last year’s receipts. Chief Behrens said:

But. substantial as this financial aid secured through your consistent and intelligent efforts for self-betterment, consisting of thousands of dollars derived from the collection of this tax of I per cent on fire insurance premiums, it will by no means compensate the gallant members of our State fire departments for their unselfish service given their feltowmen. They are ready clay and night to risk their lives for the rescue of persons imperiled by the fire menace, and the saving of their property and when we call to mind the fact that three-fourths of our firemen are volunteers who serve without reward, other than that which a sense of duty and of public spirit bring all the money is their due in the minds of their fellow citizens admiration for and gratitude to the fire fighters.

We must not be content and satisfied with having done well, but we should endeavor to be potent factors for greater good among the firemen, and a powerful agency in all matters pertaining to the protection of the lives, limbs and property of our citizens and reduction in the fire losses of South Carolina.

The parade, which was one of the finest the association had ever held, began at 11 a. m. The delegates were afterward entertained at Folly Island with a fish fry and music. There was a dance in the evening.

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