From the You-Just-Can't-Make-This-Stuff-Up Department:
Here's the rest of the story . . .
Last March 11th, the website featured this March 1961 New Haven Register story of then-Firefighter Joe McDermott receiving a citation from Hamden's Board of Fire Commissioners for saving the life of a small child two months earlier.
Shortly after the article appeared on the website, we were contacted by Deputy Chief Bob Freemen (WHFD, Ret.), who thought he knew the present whereabouts of the child whose life was saved by Joe.
The guy had attempted to contact Joe years ago, but Joe and his wife Helen were then residing in Florida. And confidentiality policies prevented the town from revealing Joe's Florida address.
In his quest to locate and thank the man who had saved his life so many years earlier, the grateful fellow had hit a brick wall. But that all changed last week, thanks to Bob Freeman's sharp eye and the exchange of a few emails.
Last week, 55 years later, Joe McDermott and the boy whose life he saved had a reunion at a local restaurant.
Chief James P. O'Brien (WHFD) and Dep. Chief Joe McDermott (HFD, Ret.)
Joe McDermott's quick thinking and heroic actions that day in January 1961
saved the life of James P. O'Brien, who today is Chief of the West Haven Fire Department.
Joe McDermott was appointed to the Hamden Fire Department on May 11, 1953. He was promoted to lieutenant in December 1963, captain in September 1970, and Deputy Chief (shift commander) in May 1973. Joe retired in September 1991 and has been a member of the Association since the beginning. He and his wife Helen live in Branford.
From June 14-16, 1936, Hamden celebrated its "Sesquicentennial" with a huge townwide 150th anniversary celebration and parade that, of course, included the Hamden Fire Department. Check this out . . .
The unknown photographer aimed his camera toward the southwest to capture the intersection of Whitney and Dixwell Avenues as the parade stepped off. The gas station on the far corner of the intersection was a City Service gasoline station operated by the DeAlmo family. It was razed in 1971 to make way for Freedom Park and the fountain that attracts so many new high school grads at this time of year.
The only structure in this photo that still exists - and it is probably a replacement - is the flagpole in front of the town hall.
The carriages led the parade, transporting the three selectmen and other VIPs. Here they are seen pulling into Day Spring Avenue, where the passengers took their places on the reviewing stand, which faced Whitney Avenue.
Dr. Lays' 1936 parade films surfaced last year
1936 Hamden parade film now on YouTube
Yesterday, June 16th, marked the 80th anniversary of Hamden's 150th Anniverary (Sesquicentennial) Parade.
Late last year the Hamden Historical Society discovered in its archives two 100' reels of 16mm home movies of the 1936 parade. The films, one color and the other black-and-white, were shot by Dr. Walter S. Lay, Hamden's medical examiner at the time of the event.
The line of march proceeded north on Whitney from just south of Dixwell, turned into James Street and concluded at Legion Field. The Hamden Fire Department marching contingent included Chief Loller, his three assistant chiefs and fourteen paid drivers. Marching right behind the career members was the Highwood Volunteer Fire Association with its original 1896 hose cart displayed on a flatbed truck.
Dr. Lay's film has been digitzed and edited into an eight-minute DVD. Thanks to Rachel Hartley's book, A History of Hamden, Connecticut (1943), all of the parade units seen in the film are identified. The film, which is peppered here and there with bits of local historical info, concludes with excerpts from athletic competition at Legion Field among various age groups of boys and girls.
In conjunction with this year's 230th anniversary of the founding of the Town of Hamden, the parade filmed by Dr. Lay on June 16, 1936 is now available on YouTube.
The reviewing stand was located in front of the Mason Temple building at the corner of Day Spring and Whitney Avenues. Although it was converted into condos in the 1990s, the outward appearance is virtually unchanged.
Circle JULY 21: This year the Summer meeting of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association will be held one week later than usual. The meeting will take place in the evening on Thursday, JULY 21st at the Elks' Hall.
Members will be notified of the menu and the exact time of the meeting early next month.
The Renegade Pigs Motorcycle Club, Gertz-Meriden Motorcycle Club of Connecticut, Inc. is comprised of police officers, firefighters, and any other public safety officers or employees. The club sponsors the High Hopes Home in Meriden for severely handicapped and abandoned children.
The Club also makes donations to other charities during the year, including Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys for the Home, the Meriden Fire Department and, when possible, other organizations that support their cause. The Club's only source of income is an annual Motorcycle Raffle.
This year's raffle prize - the ONLY prize - is a
Brand New 2016 Harley Davidson Street Glide!
Only 2000 tickets will be sold, at a cost of $20.00 per ticket.
The drawing for this beautiful motorcycle will take place on July 30th at 5:00 p.m. at the Meriden American Legion, Post #45, 835 Hanover Rd., Meriden, Connecticut. The lucky winner need not be present at the drawing, but is responsible for all taxes.
Contact Rich (Rambo) Maybury at 203-927-1641 for a ticket (or tickets) and/or for more information.