BOWLEYS QUARTERS — For 75 years, the Community Fire Department of Bowleys Quarters has performed countless hours putting out fires, and responding to disasters, medical emergency calls, and other community needs. Still, the volunteers do not receive the recognition that they deserve, according to members of the department’s 75th Anniversary Committee, whose hope is that, with an anniversary celebration in October, they can help shine a light on the volunteers who lend their time to serve and support the community.
“It is important for people to know the history of this fire department,” committee co-chair Brenda Fischer said. “We started in a small shack and built up to where we are now, and we want to make people aware that we have been here for all these years.”
Committee member Nancy Clay,, who was on the 50th Anniversary Committee 25 years ago, said that the department has continued as long as it has, because the volunteers are like a “family,” literally and figuratively.
Clay, Fischer and committee chair Joyce Elder all have family members, including all three of their husbands, who serve with the department in some capacity. Fischer’s husband, Roy, is a department manager and still occasionally drives an engine to an emergency scene, and Fischer said that on some nights, they will be eating dinner, and suddenly he has to respond to call.
“It is a commitment for these volunteers, and we are happy to support them,” Fischer said.
Each of their husbands are life members of the department, meaning they have served at least 20 years, and although Clay’s husband Stephen and Elder’s husband Rick have retired from driving a truck, Clay and Elder still worry about other volunteers in the department. Clay recalled an incident on Aug. 1, 1971, in White Marsh, in which the department lost two members in the line of duty during a flash flood.
“We are proud, yet we always have a little bit of fear and hope that they come back and that nothing happens,” Clay said.
Each of the committee members said that they are happy to help support the volunteers, not only with the upcoming celebration but also as members of the Ladies Auxiliary, which helps to organize fundraisers for the department.
“We may not ride in the truck, but when it goes out, we feel like we were a part of that. And if they save someone, we feel like we are a part of that,” Clay said. “It brings tears to my eyes – the feeling you get volunteering your own time to help these guys.”
Bowleys Quarters Volunteer Fire Department is celebrating 75 years of community service with a semi-formal dinner / dance from 6 pm. to 11 p.m. on Oct. 2 at Light House Gardens Banquet Hall on 900 Bowleys Quarters Road in Baltimore. Cost is $75 per person. For tickets, contact Joyce Elder at 410-598-1904 or Brenda Fischer at 443-520-8515.