The State Association.
The Annual Convention of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York will be held at I haca August 20, 21 and 22. This meeting will be one of the most important and, unquestionably, more largely attended than any previous one held within the State. Already the benefits conferred by this Association upon the Fire Service have been widely felt and appreciated, especially among the Volunteer Companies. The motto with which we are all so familiar, “United we stand, divided we fall,” applies with especial force to the fire organizations of the State. Outside of the large cities, where liberal salaries are paid to men to look after the welfare of the Firemen, very little attention is paid to their wants and necessities. City and town officials, as a rule, tolerate them as a sort of “ necessary evil,” but extend to them very little encouragement, either in providing the requisites lor the maintenance of their organizations or compensation for their services. It is with difficulty that the men who volunteer their services for the protection ol the properly of their fellow-citizens can secure the necessary apparatus with which to perform duty. There is no fund for their maintenance in case of sickness or injury, and neither honor nor profit in the service. On the contrary, our Volunteer Firemen are often subjected to slurs and aspersions, heaped upon them by men in office who should be the very ones to guard their reputations and protect them from misrepresentation.
The State Association, although young yet, j by encouraging a fraternal spirit among the Firemen, is slowly but surely working a revo1 lution in public sentiment regarding our! Firemen. Our State conventions are made up of delegates from all the towns and cities in the State,who by their dignified conduct, and by their intelligent discussion of questions pertaining to the Fire Service, show to the publ c in general that they are respectable, public-spirited citizens, earnestly seeking, by interchanging ideas wi h the best intelligence to be found in their line of business, to obtain knowledge regarding a difficult, delicate and laborious profession by which the public is to be benefited. Questions of great importance to every community are discussed by men of experience in the Fire Service, and ideas and suggestions are made by those whose practical experience entitles them to be lis’.ened to with careful attention. By seeking thus to elevate and give prominence to the profession of Firemen, the State Association is doing a good work, as well as by the opportunity it affords for the interchange of ideas. It has also been a power in securing legislation calculated to improve the standing and condition of the Firemen in all sections of the State. But more is needed to he accomp is led in this direction. It is, therefore, of the h ghest importance that every Department should be represented at the coming Convention, and also that each Depaitment should send its most in’ell gent and earnest men as delegates. Let “ business ” be the leading thought of each deleg ite. and the aim of all be to secure practical benefits from the gathering. Let each one beprepired to participate in the discussions which will arise, and to do his best to make a record for the Associa’ion of which all citizens may be proud. There is much for the Association to do yet before it can be called a model organization, and it should be the aim of all to so perfect it that it shall be the leading association of its kind in the country’.
Objection is made in many quarters that gatherings of Firemen partake more of the nature of social picnics than meetings to consider the welfare of the general public. Such objection is founded in ignorance, because sufficient publicity has not heretofore been given to the proceedings of these conventions. We hope hereafter to see the newspapers well represented at the Conventions, and large numbers of the official report of the proceedings published and circulated broadcast. Every public officer and every insurance officer and agent in the State should have a copy, and every delegate should be liberally supplied with them to circulate among his immediate constituency. If the conventions are worth holding it is worth letting the people, whose good opinion is sought to be cultivated, know what is done by them. The JOURNAL will do whatever lies in its power to give publicity to the proceedings, and will be duly represented by a corps of reporters to tike full notes of the business transacted and the discussions indulged in. If the delegates selected are imbued with a proper spirit, the Convention will be of gteat good ; but if they regard it in the light of a picnic it will deserve to be a failure. If there is, as is asserted to the detriment of the earnest Firemen of the State, a “bummer” element in the Service, we sincerely hope this element will not be represented at Ithac£ The calling of Fireman is an honorable one, and can never disgrace those who follow it ; men, however, may disgrace the profession and their associates. Let us see the best representatives of every Department at Ithaca, and the State Association will enter upon a career of usefulness whose influence will be felt for many years to come.