When you live in a town, there are certain things you reasonably expect – police and fire, water and electrical service and roads. After all, residents pay utility companies for service and they pay the town taxes.
All true, except on one account in South Windsor.
No one’s paying the firefighters. They get up at 3 a.m. or leave their jobs at 3 p.m. and on countless evenings, weekends and holidays, leave their families to protect the lives, homes and businesses of their neighbors.
It’s quite a sacrifice.
“I think most people don’t really grasp the amount of time each person gives in order to be a volunteer,” said Andrew Hildebrand, chairman of the 75th Anniversary Committee. “We’re required to attend training every Tuesday, we have scholarship committees and over 100 firefighters who respond to calls at any given time.”
And for the South Windsor Volunteer Fire Department, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary, it’s a point of pride that while the majority of surrounding towns have had to hire a few or all their firefighters to ensure the town is protected, South Windsor firefighters have always stepped up to volunteer.
And so, in this 75th year, the department is celebrating big and the festivities center around the week of Sept. 15 through 22.
A 5K Obstacle Course
First, the Stop, Drop and Roll 5K Challenge, which Hildebrand called a weak variation of the Tough Mudder.
“It’s like a challenging obstacle course on trails surrounding Nevers Park,” Hildebrand said. “It’s fun for the whole family.”
That event will be held at 9 a.m. at the South Windsor Community Center. The cost to enter is $25 per person and registration can be found at www.swfd2013.com.
Following that, is what Hildebrand calls “our weekend of happiness.”
A Firefighter Muster, Parade and Town-Wide Celebration
In conjunction with the 75th anniversary celebration, South Windsor is also hosting the 130th Annual Connecticut State Firefighter’s Association Convention and Parade. The event will draw departments from across the state and while some of the events are just for firefighters, there’s plenty for the public to enjoy.
First, an old fashioned firefighter muster at the South Windsor High School lower athletic fields on Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. The event includes a bucket brigade, hose loading, midnight alarm, add-a-length, hose ball and the ladder climb with a twist. Parking will be available at the Community Center.
The longest parade in South Windsor history will be held Sunday, Sept. 22, with more than 100 pieces of fire apparatus and 1,000 marching units including bands, bagpipers and other groups. The parade steps off at noon and is expected to last until 3:30.
The parade starts on Sullivan Avenue, turns onto Ayers Road, turns onto Nevers Road and ends at the High School. Shuttle service will take spectators to stops along the route and return them to the parking areas afterward.
Parking for the event will be available on Nevers Road, the portion of the park where the soccer field is, the athletic fields across from the community center and the area used by the farmers market. See attached map or visit swfd2013.com.
The townwide celebration of the department’s 75th anniversary will be held from noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the Nevers Park Rotary Pavilion. The event is free with hot dogs, hamburgers and fair food, games and activities for kids and a craft fair. The Tirebiter Band and Savage Brothers will perform.
For more information, visit swfd2013.com.