Unionport VFD marking 50th

This is a special summer for the Unionport Volunteer Fire Department.

It’s marking its 50th anniversary, and it wants the public to help it celebrate the occasion in style on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

To show its appreciation to the community for their years of support, the fire department wants to give back by inviting the public to come to Unionport on Sunday for the celebration to be held at the Wayne Township Community Center grounds. Free parking is available in the old ball field behind the center.

Plans include a display of the old fire trucks as well as the up-to-date trucks and equipment. An inflatable bouncing cage, games and equipment will be available for children in addition to a cornhole challenge and horse shoes for all.

A pig roast heads the menu, which includes sandwiches, side dishes, cookies and a birthday cake. Music and a 50/50 drawing also are planned.

The museum at the Community Center will be open for browsing with many old pictures on display in the Senior Citizens room. Sam Keyser is department chairman of this event, and includes as co-sponsors the Community Center and the Unionport Grange.

As for the history of the fire department, it was established in 1963 by original founders Ed Oswald, Kes Whipkey, Bill Newburn, Charles Newburn Sr., Lester Cline, John Stephenson and Blaine Newburn.

Through the years, it has grown from a two-bay station to its present five-bay unit. A ladies auxiliary was established in the 1960s and has been very helpful in its growth, according to a department spokesman. They raised funds to purchase the first fire siren and other equipment.

Over the years, many junior members volunteered and were great assets, the spokesman added. Bingo was an important activity for many years, and its success made it possible to buy necessary equipment and to build a social hall for its bingo and numerous local functions.

Officers of the department are Fire Chief Jim Westfall, Assistant Fire Chief Richard Davis, Assistant Fire Chief C. L. Gross, Capt. Pete Grable and EMS Capt. Scott Radish.

The executive board consists of Sam Keyser, president; Scott Redish, vice president; Pete Grable, secretary; Sara Walters, treasurer; and Sam Keyser, Mike Brown and C. L. Gross, trustees.

The department has 21 active members.

“The fire department has been a very active and valuable asset to the community. It is purely a volunteer organization and depends on area support to maintain training sessions for firefighting and life-saving expertise,” the spokesman said, encouraging the public to come and “enjoy the community atmosphere, games, food, etc. You won’t be disappointed.”