Village to celebrate with fireman’s parade

WELLSVILLE–Celebrating 150 years of fire service with a fireman’s parade. On Saturday Sept. 21, the Wellsville Fire Department will be having a 150 Anniversary Parade.

“It’s not just a celebration of the fire department, but a celebration of the community” said Jarrod Grim, a Wellsville fireman.

The village has had four fire departments, the first was the Neptune Fire Company started in 1869 and lead by Captain R. C. Anderson. The city fire department was founded in 1894. Alonzo W. Phillips was the first full-time paid chief and Barry Podwel is the current chief.

There are two departments serving Wellsville, the one is the Village of Wellsville Fire Department and the Village of Wellsville Volunteer Fire Department.

The two departments are separate entities but they work together to serve Wellsville.

Currently there are 23 people on the volunteer fire department’s roster, and three fireman employed through the village’s department. To celebrate the day, the Firehouse, the Riverside Museum exhibit dedicated to the history of the fire department, will be open tentatively from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the old fire station will be open during the day.

Lineup and registration for the parade starts at 2 p.m. with the first 50 organizations to arrive receiving a dash plaque. Registration is at the middle school and high school building.

The parade begins at 4 p.m. and travels from the fire station to the gazebo on Main Street.

“Hopefully it is a good showing and it doesn’t rain and that the streets are filled with people,” said Podwel.

The grand-marshal is Retired Fire Chief David Lloyd, who will be driven in the 1941 Chevrolet general fire truck by his brother Bob Lloyd.

David was chief from 1980 to 2002, and Bob owned the 1941 fire engine for 23 years before selling it back to the Wellsville Fire Department.

David, Bob and their brother John Lloyd all worked as fireman in Wellsville, and their father Robert Lloyd worked as both fire chief and assistant chief.

“It’s not just the parade, it’s the 150 anniversary we’re celebrating, and for me my whole life more or less has been involved with the fire department, my dad was hired as a fireman in 1949…” said Lloyd.

Bob, who is also the president of the Wellsville Historical Society, reported back in the 1940’s and 1950’s the fire department use to have a yearly parade that corresponded with the department’s carnival, which functioned as a fundraiser.

“You only get to celebrate the 150 anniversary once and I hope the citizens make it memorable, because these guys do a lot for Wellsville,” said Lloyd.

Anyone is welcome to participate in the parade. Steel Valley Pipes & Drums, a group of public safety and military members, and Eyes on Wellsville are some of the groups who have RSVP to join the Wellsville Fire Department during the parade. Groups can pre-register or register day of.

Podwel said it will be a fireman’s parade and expects it to be loud, with lots of sires.

“It’s giving back to the people and showing gratitude to the residents” said Podwel.