Restored firetruck sparks memories
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Dec 10, 2013, 16:52
CAITLIN DAVIS/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT The 1957 members of Company 1 sit atop the restored 1943 Seagrave firetruck. Pictured is, Herbert Scott Jr., Luther Vick, K.V. Butler Jr., Roy Smith, Jay Aubrey Williams Sr., Tommy Burren and Don Vtipil.
PRINCE GEORGE — Prince George held their annual Christmas parade this weekend, and leading off the parade was a restored 1943 Seagrave firetruck, a piece of history for the county. Sitting atop the truck were some of the first members of Company 1, volunteers from 1957.
The 1943 Seagrave that is now in Prince George was one of seven trucks manufactured in that year. The truck is also the first firetruck that blazed through the streets of the county.
Tommy Burren, who has been with Company 1 for 55 years, said the restoration process took two years, from October 2011 to October 2013. He said the truck first came to the county from the Navy ship yard in Norfolk.
The Seagrave then left the department in 1962 to go to Carson to help organize that fire department. After some time, the truck was bought by a former member of Company 1 who started restoring it. The company bought it back from him after he ran out of time and money to restore the truck.
Burren said the members of Company 1 are still raising funds for the restoration. Over the past two years, the company has held raffles, yard sales, sold pork butts, and had donations from individuals to go toward the restoration process.
On Saturday, many of men who sat on top of the truck had not seen it since they left Company 1.
“It looks better now than it did when we got it by far,” said Jay Aubrey Williams, a 1957 member of Company 1.
For member Luther Vick, the truck represented a first experience in his life.
“For me, this was the first firetruck I ever drove,” Vick said. “I think I was the last one to pump it at a fire scene, and that was a long time ago.”
The group of volunteers from Company 1, who also included Herbert F. Scott Jr., K.V. Butler Jr., Roy Smith and Don Vtipil, also celebrated the friendship that they had formed all those years ago.
“You feel that camaraderie that lasts for a lifetime,” Butler said. “With a volunteer organization, one of the things that’s so great about it is the talent over such a wide field. We had people that were bankers, people that were mechanics, we had a welder, the postmaster, a vast array of people you learn from.”
The members of the 1957 Company 1 crew make their way through the streets of Prince George during the parade on Saturday.
One member, Scott, also reminisced about not only seeing his former firefighter friends, but also the homes in and around Prince George.
“One think that’s interesting is you drive around in the county and you can still see houses that are there that you saved,” Scott said. “There’s a lot of satisfaction in taking care of life and property in the county.”