Hedges and Tavaras Honored at Local 2687 Retirement Dinner
Local 2687 Pres. Kurt Vogt, Fire Commission Chairman Henry Candido and Lieut. C.J. Hedges
Local 2687 Pres. Kurt Vogt, Fire Commission Chairman Henry Candido and Firefighter Paul Tavaras
As the department's 2016 retirees, Lieut. Clifford J. ("CJ") Hedges and Firefighter Paul Tavaras were guests of honor at Local 2687's Annual Retirement Dinner last Saturday evening at the Foxon Country House. Lieut. Hedges, known to his colleagues as "CJ," a Massachusetts native, recalled being attracted to Hamden nearly twenty years ago because of the department's traditions and the relationships he observed between active and retired members. C.J. will be working at a new job on Cape Cod.
Firefighter Tavaras spent twenty years with the United States Postal Service before applying to the department thirteen years ago. In his remarks, Paul spoke of his dream of becoming a firefighter, a dream that was shattered in 2015 when he suffered a serious and debilitating spinal injury in the course of a response. The doctors would have a devastating message for him. He would never be able to return to work.
After numerous surgeries, rehab, and a metal rod, Paul is back on his feet. Paul expressed admiration and praise to his fellow firefighters for their support during his lengthy convalescance.
One of the happier upsides to Paul's unplanned retirement was a rather hurried and somewhat overdue marriage proposal to his lovely wife, Stacie. After a very lengthy courtship, Paul knew it was time to make it official. He and Stacie married last May 20th, just a few weeks before his retirement became official.
The HFRA presented C.J. and Paul with 2017 dues cards representing their first year's membership in the Association. Their brother and sister retired firefighters wish them both a long, happy and healthy retirement.
Harold Mangler found this remarkable I.A. Sneiderman photo of Hamden's 1941 Diamond-T city service ladder truck in front of the Putnam Avenue fire station.
Department records in the HFRA archives indicate that the truck arrived February 11, 1942 from the Wood Engineering Services of Topsfield, Massachusetts. Very close examination of this photo revealed a 1942 Massachusetts license plate on the front bumper, which suggests that this photo was taken when the truck was delivered. The gentlemen in civilian garb who are removing the ladders are probably employees of Wood Engineering.
According to department records and the newspaper account at right, the truck was sent out in early April to have a 150 g.p.m. pump and booster reel installed. This is the only known photo taken of the truck before the pump and booster reel were installed. Once the installations were complete, the new ladder truck was placed in service at the Highwood fire station on April 27, 1942.
Between the time the truck arrived in February and when it was placed in service two months later, Harold Mangler, the longest continuously serving career firefighter in the history of the Hamden Fire Department, made his world debut along with two triplet brothers. Harold joined the department in 1964, one year after this truck was sold to New Milford for $2,200. He was assigned briefly to station in the photo. After nearly 42 years' service, Harold retired in 2006 as Asst. Supt. of Apparatus.