Texas Fire Fighters Provide Apparatus For Boys Ranch Fire Department
TWO TEEN-AGE BOYS sat ready behind the steering wheels of the new fire truck and at a given signal they drove slowly out of the station to break a blue and white ribbon that had been stretched and the Boys Ranch Fire Department was officially open for business. This was the highlight of a fire station dedication ceremony held recently and attended by more than 300 firemen and their families from cities and towns of the Texas Panhandle. Some had driven long distances to Cal Farley’s nationally famous Boys Ranch, 40 miles northwest of Amarillo for the presentation of the new equipment.
The new equipment consists of a brand new 500-gallon pumper donated by the Panhandle Firemen’s Association, and a 300-gallon booster truck contributed by the Lubbock, Tex., Fire Department. The new pumper was purchased by more than 40 member-communities of the association. It was the climax of a fund-raising drive that started in 1955 with a single donation. The firemen sold hand fire extinguishers, candy and gum, held benefits and raised more than $12,000 for the new pumper. The Howe Fire Apparatus Company of Anderson, Ind., constructed the vehicle at cost.
The Lubbock firemen made the booster truck from a stripped-down truck chassis. When they had finished with their efforts, Boys Ranch had a truck valued at between $7,000 and $8,000.
The apparatus is housed in a new, two-hay fire station donated by Mr. & Mrs. Vernon Hafner of Chillicothe, Tex. Mr. Hafner is secretary of the Panhandle Firemen’s Association and was a fireman for many years before his retirement. During a visit to the Ranch, he and Mrs. Hafner saw the great need for adequate fire protection for the boys and donated the funds to build the new station. The building, constructed partly by the boys of the Ranch, is of Colorado stone and decorated with BR brand. The surrounding area is landscaped by boys who are learning landscaping as part of their vocational training.
The Boys Ranch Fire Department operates just like all volunteer departments. A fire chief and fire marshal have been appointed from among the Ranch’s adult staff. They supervise regular drills and inspections by the boys. Field trips are made by firemen of Amarillo and Dumas, Tex., to instruct the boys and staff members on the use of the equipment. Fire fighting manuals have been provided by Texas A & M College at Lubbock.
At the present time, Boys Ranch is home for nearly 300 boys from all over the nation; boys from four to 17, some simply without homes, about half in trouble with the law before going to the Ranch and all innocent victims of broken marriages. Thirty-four states are represented by the boys who are being cared for, trained and educated in the heart of the Texas cattle country.
Boys Ranch was founded 23 years ago by Cal Farley, former worldchampion wrestler and successful Amarillo businessman. Since then, more than 1,500 boys have called the Ranch their home and are now scattered all over the world, serving their country in the Armed Forces, earning their own ways with trades they have learned at the Ranch and raising families of their own. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover calls Boys Ranch “a blueprint for crime prevention.”
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“Thanks to the hundreds of firemen in the Texas Panhandle, most of whom are volunteers, our boys are now sleeping more securely,” Farley said. “We owe all of them a debt we are trying to repay by returning good, responsible citizens to their communities and to other communities all over the United States.”