Engine No. 1 in Boykins to get new life

Published 10:21 am Wednesday, January 30, 2013

by David Anthony Stiglitz

I am a fairly new member of the Boykins Volunteer Fire and Rescue, and for this privilege I am pleased, though my services to this department are minimal at best.

I will never again overlook or take for granted what a volunteer fire department and rescue means to a community, or the sacrifices made by its members. They are taken away from their families and their personal lives at any moment, day or night, and may be tired after a long day at work or feeling a little under the weather, but are dedicated enough to their community that they run at the drop of a hat for every call.

Now I truly understand how extraordinary the sacrifices of a few for the many may be underappreciated but absolutely necessary.

Though Boykins is my town and will always be my town, I have seen the neighboring departments in action firsthand and believe this also rings true for them — a heritage of community service passed down from generation to generation.

Since joining the fire department, I have had the opportunity to listen to the stories of the trials and tribulations of the citizen firefighters of Boykins’ past. Told to me by many senior citizens of our community, the stories include one about the two-wheeled, hand-pulled cart that manually was brought to the fire scene and the citizens still in our community who did the pulling, which I am still astonished at.

I also heard about the way that the community banded together to collect enough funds to purchase its first fire engine, which in 1955 could not have been an easy task.

This engine, Engine No. 1, served our community faithfully for many, many years, and though her last call for service is over, I feel she is a legacy that represents an era and a people, which some call the greatest generation, and deserves to be saved at all costs.

For this reason, I felt she deserved a better future than rusting in the weeds or being moved down to some other state, never to see this town again. So I asked the fire and rescue members at the last meeting for the above said reasons to hear my proposal and bring it to a vote.

I stated I have no personal interest in a fire engine, but I do have an interest in heritage.

Instead of the above options, you give Engine No. 1 to me and I’ll sand her down, paint her up, put “Boykins” back on the side of her and get her running.

She’ll never be showroom condition, but I’ll get her respectable. I’ll make her available for all the Boykins parades and all the department fundraisers, and I give you my word she’ll stay right here in Boykins as long as I’m alive.

I cannot express how pleased I was at the members’ vote to give Engine No. 1 to me. I thank them for the faith and trust in my word.

It is my hope that my actions, and the actions of the fire and rescue department in this matter please those who have gone before us, though let me make myself perfectly clear.

I am not undertaking this venture because they were the generation before us. I am undertaking this venture because Engine No. 1 and the generation before us earned it.

DAVID ANTHONY STIGLITZ is a resident of Boykins and can be reached at david911boom@yahoo.com.