From July 1 to July 10, 1995 the Town of Hamden hosted three of the several sports venues for the 1995 Special Olympics World Games: Bowling, at the Hamden Bowling Lanes; Baskeball, at the Quinnipiac College Gym; and the Bicycle Race, along Whitney Avenue from New Haven to Cheshire.
For over a year the Hamden Fire Department, with the assistance of several other area fire departments, spent hundreds of hours preparing for the enormous ten-day increase in the town's population.
Hamden Safety Coordinator for the games was Batt. Chief Tom Doherty, assisted by Batt. Chief Mike Ambriscoe. They headed the Game's Safety Committee for all Hamden venues. Capt. Dave Johnson and Capt. Bob Viglione coordinated Fire Safety operations, Capt. Paul Wetmore, Jr. organized Emergency Medical Services, and Capt. Don LaBanca was responsible for Logistical operations.
The 1995 Special Olympics World Games were the single largest athletic event in the world that year. Batt. Chief Doherty began organizing department members toward this effort early in 1994. From the beginniung of the planning stages until the last day, virtually all Hamden career and volunteer personnel contributed their time and effort to make the department's safety mission a success. Fire personnel from North Haven, Bethany, Cheshire, and Madison offered a tremendous amount of assistance as well.
Originally posted 7/1/2010
The torch bearer of the Games Torch Run takes a break in front of the Hamden Mart to pose with fellow special olympians and members of the Hamden Fire Department.
Members of the Games Torch Run pose on the front bumper of Truck One with B/C Mike Ambriscoe, Chief Paul Wetmore, Sr., and B/C Tom Doherty (far right), who was a Dep. Commissioner of the Games Organizing Committee.
To ensure immediate and adequate coverage at the basketball venue, Hamden's "Station 10" with Engine 10 was located on the campus of Quinnipiac College throughout the ten days of the 1995 Special Olympics World Games.
Engine 10 went in service at Quinnipiac College on June 29, 1995. Pictured (L-R): B/C Tom Doherty, Ff. Dennis Harrison, Ff. Dave Proulx and Lt. Bill "Salty" Marak.
Engine 3, the 1973 Maxim "Telesqurt," was Engine 10, stationed at Quinnipiac College. Engine 1, a 1968 Maxim, substituted for Engine 3 at Station 3 for the duration.
The 1973 Maxim 1000 GPM foam truck (above) was normally Engine 9. During the World Games it was designated as Engine 12 and stationed at the Hamden Mart. Cheshire's Engine 6 substituted for Engine 9 at Station 9 for the duration.
At left, Lt. Clark Hurlburt, Ff. Bob Anthony and Ff. Joe Anderson manned Engine 12 on the first day it was in service at the Hamden Mart.
Hamden Professional Firefighters, Local 2687 I.A.F.F. rented two billboards to welcome the Special Olympians. This billboard was on Whitney Avenue in northern Mt. Carmel.
July 1, 1995 - Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremonies at Yale Bowl - President Bill Clinton addresses the throng!
Let THE GAMES Begin!
July 5, 1995 - Lt. Bob Mordecai, Ff. Ralph Dievert, Capt. Paul Wetmore, Capt. Don LaBanca (site captain), Ff. Mike Green, and B/C Tom Doherty at the Hamden Lanes. These were among the scores of Hamden career and volunteer firefighters, and members of other departments, who volunteered to man the venues on their off-duty time.
Outside Hamden Lanes the athletes get ready for competition.
More photos of the Hamden Fire Department preparing for the 1995 Special Olympics World Games
Movie and TV actress Susan St. James spoke with some of our guys when she visited Hamden Lanes during the World Games bowling competition.
Another celebrity visitor to the Games - and we didn't have any film in the camera at the time - was a gentleman who drove up Rt. 15 to Hamden Lanes from his home in Westport, Paul Newman.
July 5, 1995 - Actress Susan St. James with young Special Olympian at Hamden Bowling Lanes.
HFD volunteers to the World Games (L-R): Capt. Dave Johnson, Lt. Bob Mordecai, FF/Paramedic Mike Green, Capt. Don LaBanca, Capt. Paul Wetmore, Jr., and Batt. Chief Tom Doherty (seated).
Ms. St. James chats with Ff./Paramedic Mike Green,
Capt. Don LaBanca, Capt. Paul Wetmore and
B/C Tom Doherty at Hamden Lanes.
Shirley Mangler - CLICK to enlarge
"Engine 12" at the Mart - CLICK to enlarge
Tower 1 - CLICK to enlarge
Shirley Mangler, wife of Firefighter Harold Mangler, was an official HFD photographer for the World Games. Over the years Shirley has taken many outstanding photos of the HFD in action.
The center photo shows Lt. Mike DiStefano and Ff. Ray Ramelli with "Engine 12" at the Hamden Mart, where Hamden Lanes was the venue for the World Games bowling competition. Lt. DiStefano is putting the finishing touches on a banner attached to the portico that once covered the sidewalk.
The photo on the right shows Ff. Harold Mangler next to the first Tower 1 (1991-2011), flying the Australian flag in honor of Team Australia, which was hosted by Hamden.
Tim O'Flynn and Charlie Cargan during the July 1995 World Games at the Hamden Lanes. (Photo by Shirley Mangler)
Great shot of Chief Paul Wetmore, Sr. during the 1995 Games. (Photo by Shirley Mangler)