Retirees Tom Doherty and Dave Johnson were guests of Platoon 4 at Station 3 this past weekend for some homemade pizza, courtesy of Ff. Dave Beaton (no one does it better than Dave!). Thanks, Dave to you and your colleagues at 3s - great time!
L-R - Ret. B/C Tom Doherty, Capt. Joe Anderson, Ff. Alan Sedlak, Ff. Chris Wihbey, Ff. "Anonymous," B/C/ Brion Tierney, Ff. Dave Beaton, and Lieut. Nick Borrelli.
Johnson and Doherty (Photo by Capt. Joe Anderson)
Ret. B/C Doherty, Ff. Beaton, and Lieut. Borrelli
As the two retirees were in their car ready to depart, Engine 3 went on a mission.
Chief Ed Doiron Jr., of the Gainsville [MO] Fire Department, sent along a few pix taken by his dad years ago. The Kopjanski photo was c. 1975, and could very well be from when Eddie K was transferred from Platoon 1 to Platoon 2, to even out the shifts when three new guys were hired in the summer of 1975. Both pix may be enlarged by clicking on them.
This 1985 photo, taken at the Hamden Mart during a Fire Prevention Week demo, features Ff. Roger Sullivan flanked by two unknown colleagues - any ideas?
The perfect caption would be something like, "1975 - Eddie Kopjankski celebrates getting his tranfer letter to Platoon 2. He just got himself un-FACED."
Standing (L-R): Dave Berardesca, Augie Williams, Jim Leddy, Tom Doherty, Harold Mangler, Paul "Froggy" Frodel, Don LaBanca, Kevin Shields, John O'Dea, Dennis Baker, Vic Mitchell, Jim Dunlop, and Jim Koutsopolous. Seated (L-R): Chick Manware, Dave Johnson, Bob Mordecai and Paul Turner. Photo by Mary Turner. CLICK TO ENLARGE
The Association's Summer meeting was held on Thursday evening, July 13th. Member Paul Turner attended his first meeting since his stroke last September and his fellow members were very happy to see him doing very well.
A by-law change proposed at the Spring meeting to split the duties of the Secretary into the positions of Recording Secretary and Coresponding Secretary was given final approval. Following the approval of the by-law change, nominations for Recording Secretary were opened. Unfortunately, none of the members present was able to accept the nomination. The Chair asked the Secretary if no one is elected would he consider remaining inthe position until someone accepts the position. He agreed.
The Autumn meeting, when the Memorial Plaques are presented to families of members we've lost since last October, is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Wednesday, October 11th.
A password-protected link to the Summer Meeting minutes will be posted here soon.
Our first association president Mark Barletta, a Sabastian, Florida reident for about the last decade, paid an unexpected visit to Hamden last week to visit his son, B/C Adam Barletta and his family. Here he is when he stopped by the webmeister's home.
Mark, who just hit the big Seven-0, says he's doing just fine. He was sorry that he couldn't coincide his trip north with our last meeting, but sends warm regards to his fellow HFRA members.
A bat expert and enthusiast, Mark continues to offer his advice and services for bat incidents in his local area. Perhaps because they are so often associated with rabies and vampires, bats are frequently abused when authorities are called upon to rid them from unwanted locations. As he did for many years when he was on the job in Hamden, Mark continues to offer assistance on controlling methods that do not involve harming these fabled flying mammals. (Bela would be pleased.)
We deeply regret to announce the passing on Sunday, June 25th, HFRA Honorary Member Rita Knudsen, widow of our deceased brother, Firefighter Fred Knudsen (1923-1998), who served with the Hamden Fire Department from 1951 until his retirement on March 1, 1986.
Rita is survived by her children Kathleen and her husband Frank Lind, Beth and her husband Rick Tramontano, Thomas Knudsen (NHFD - Ret.) and his wife Florence, Robert Knudsen and his wife Kathleen, and James Knudsen and his wife Helena, 10 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.
Friends may visit with Rita's family at Beecher and Bennett Funeral Home, 2300 Whitney Avenue, Hamden, on Friday morning, June 30th, from 9:00 to 10:30, prior to her Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. at St. Rita's Church, 1620 Whitney Avenue. Burial will follow in Beaverdale Memorial Park Cemetery in Hamden.
CLICK HERE: to view Rita Knudsen's complete obituary as published in today's edition of The New Haven Register.Our thoughts and prayers are with Rita's family.
Governor Lamont Directs Flags To Half-Staff in Honor of
Former Governor Lowell P. Weicker, Jr.
Posted on June 28, 2023
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont announced that he is directing U.S. and State of Connecticut flags to half-staff in honor of former Governor Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., who passed away today after a short illness.
Flags should be lowered effective immediately and remain lowered until sunset on the date of interment, which has not yet been determined.
The Office of the Governor will send out a notification indicating when flags should be returned to full staff.
Traditional pre-parade group photo of Department members, including several retirees.
(CLICK to enlarge)
Photo taken by Cody Couturier, courtesy of Chief Naples
Chief Jeff Naples and the marching contingent were greeted by Mayor Lauren Garrett and her children, Bobby and Abby, on what turned out to be a picture-perfect day.
For the past 43 years Hamden's Memorial Day Parade has begun at the Hamden High School and proceeded north. Most of the time the parade route terminated at the town hall. More recently it ended just past the reviewing stand situated opposite Evergreen Avenue. This year, the parade ended at the middle school where Memorial Day observances took place following the parade.
From the early 1950s until 1969, the parade route ran north on Dixwell Avenue from Highwood to the high school. The first high school to town hall parade was held in 1970. For the next ten years the parade ran both routes alternately, with the last Highwood to the high school parade occurring in 1980.
For most of the last century, the Memorial Day Parade has provided the Department with an opportunity to honor the fallen soldiers, sailors, and marines who gave their lives to keep our country free. May they rest in peace.
Stepping off from the high school, the Department was represented by over two dozen marchers. Several others, including a past chief, rode in apparatus. (CLICK to enlarge)
The Department was honored by the presence of retired Fire Inspector Paul Turner, who is recovering from the stroke he suffered last Labor Day weekend. Paul, who is making great progress, was assisted by Firefighter Dave Beaton. (CLICK to enlarge)
All parade photos below, courtesy of Anna M. Johnson, may be enlarged with a CLICK.
Platoon 3 shift commander Batt. Chief Jason Blyth in Car 3, led the Department's rolling stock.
Retired Fire Chief Paul Wetmore Sr. rode in a piece of Hamden Fire Department history, Co. 7's 1935 Dodge Bros. brush truck with the body of the 1918 Stewart chemical truck that served as the first Engine 1 from 1918 to 1926. Chief Wetmore was chauffeured by his son, retired Batt. Chief Paul Wetmore Jr.
Tower 1, driven by Ff. Seth Patrick, gave your webmeister an opportunity to continue to participate in the parade. Capt. D.J. was a driver, and later officer, assigned to every one of Hamden's aerial ladder trucks until 1998.
Likewise, Engine 3, driven by Ff. Jaime Bonet, provided retired Lieut. Bob Mordecai with an opportunity to participate in the parade. Bob is president of the Hamden Fire Retirees Assn.
Recruit Firefighter Michael McKnight and Recruit Ff/Paramedic Jean Nimba were officially sworn in to the Hamden Fire Department on Friday, May 26th. CLICK HERE for more photos of the swearing in ceremony and the stories of these two new Hamden firefighters.
There is life after retirement, and it's often an entirely different career. When HFRA Pres. Bob Mordecai stopped by Bobby Viglione's barber shop for a haircut right after the New Year, he took a few photos of Bobby V indulging in his own post-fire department career, a career that he had long before his 2000 retirement after 31-years on the HFD. In fact, many of us who worked with then-Captain Viglione often availed ourselves of his excellent tonsorial talents right in the fire station.
Bob M. recently suggested to your webmeister that it might be a nice idea to occasionally feature HFD retirees indulging in their post-retirement activities. And what better way to inaugurate the idea than to feature Bobby V in the barber shop that he owns and operates on Route 80 in North Branford, where many of our retired brothers go to get the best haircut they'll ever experience.
Bobby V's North Branford Barber Shop on Rt. 80, about a quarter of a mile east of Route 22
It has been said that if an American ever visits London's Piccadilly Circus, within 20 minutes he'll run into someone he knows. Well the same might be said for Bobby V's five-chair waiting area, well stocked with plenty of Bob's fire department memorabilia, lots of classic automobile periodicals, and an occasional HFD retiree or two. Another of our retirees often remarks that he knows when it's time to visit Bobby's barber shop because he's "beginning to look like Beethoven."
Barber shops have played an important role in the history of Hamden firefighting. Hamden's first fire company was organized in 1896 in William Dick's barber shop in Highwood. And it was in Bobby V's barber shop that the Hamden Fire Retirees Association was born some fourteen yeaars ago, when several HFD retirees began talking with Bob about the idea of forming a retirees group.
On April 7, 2009 several of the organizers used Bob's back room to stuff stamped envelopes with letters inviting HFD retirees to an organizational meeting a few weeks later on May 11th.
This was Station 4 on Wednesday, April 12th at 4 p.m., when this North Haven pumper was parked on the ramp. Much of the department was fighting a nasty brush fire on the portion of Paradise Avenue off Laura Road.
Seated (L-R): John Spencer, Jim Koutopolos, Chick Manware, Jim Leddy, Harold Mangler, and Bernie Amatrudo (with a newly repaired meniscus). Standing (L-R): Dennis Baker, Carl Backus, Tom Doherty, Dave Johnson, Dan Murphy, Clark Hurlburt, Augie Williams, Bill Fitzmaurice, Ray Chase, Vic Mitchell, and Dennis Harrison. (Photo taken by Fred Romano) CLICK TO ENLARGE
HFRA V.P. Bill Fitzmaurice and Elks member Fred Romano
The Association's Spring meeting with a pizza lunch was held on Wednesday, April 12th. Prior to the start of the meeting, Vice president Bill Fitzmaurice presented Fred Romano of the Elks with a brand new "indoor" flag for the meeting room (see photo at right). Bill chaired the meeting for President Bob Mordecai, who was away due to a long standing commitment.
A by-law change to raise annual dues from $15 to $20 was voted unanimously, to take effect starting in calendar year 2024. The handful of members who have already paid for 2024 will not be dunned for the difference. A motion was made to make yet another by-law change to split the duties of Secretary into two positions, Recording Secretary and Corresponding Secretary. The present Secretary will continue as Corresponding Secretary, but recent serious health issues require that the recording duties be carried out by another individual. Any takers?
The members present voted unanimously to make a donation to the Turner family to assist with expenses related to Paul's rehabilitation and recovery following the stroke he suffered in September, only ten months after retiring. There is a GoFundMe page devoted to helping the Turner family - CLICK HERE to donate to the GoFundMe page.
The password for the protected pages on the website was changed the next day and all members in good standing have been notified. The Summer meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 13th.
A password-protected link to the meeting minutes - CLICK HERE.
From Local 2687 FB posting: April 6 - Many of our current and retired members were in attendance this evening for the induction of retired L2687 member Bob Anthony into the Connecticut Firefighter Hall of Fame.
Bob Anthony was the second President of International Association Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 2687, and is the retiring Treasurer of the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Assn. (UPFFA) of Connecticut.
Bob Anthony has made countless contributions to advancing Local 2687 and also other union firefighters throughout the state of Connecticut during his time in the UPFFA.
And we would like to add, your brother and sister members of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association congratulate you, Bob, for your tireless efforts well done.
Top row (L-R): Ff. Dave Beaton, Ff. Chris Parmalee, and B/C Adam Barletta;
2nd row (L-R): Dep. Marshal Tim Lunn (Ret.), Capt. Hugh O'Callaghan (Ret. - now Asst. Chief, W. Hartford F.D.), Capt. Dan Such, B/C Sam DeBurra (Ret.), and Lt. Brian Gagnon;
3rd row (L-R): Capt. Ed Evers (Ret.), Dep. Marshal Nelson Hwang, Chief Gary Merwede (Ret.), Ff. Cal Brennan, and Lt. Craig Smart;
Bottom row (L-R): Ff. Chris Dosin, Honoree Ff. Bob Anthony (Ret.), and Capt. Mike Dowling.
Bob Anthony, Gary Merwede, and Dave Beaton are all past presidents of Local 2687. Nelson Hwang is the Local's current president.
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today released the following statement in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War:
“On this day fifty years ago, the last of the United States combat troops left South Vietnam. Throughout the duration of the war, thousands of men and women from Connecticut served, and every community in our state felt the impact. To this day, we are still grieving for those who are missing in action and those who lost their lives in battles.
“At the time, the merits of the war were passionately debated here at home, becoming increasingly angry and divisive. To unwarranted and unfair effects, our nation’s service members returned from Vietnam to a deafening silence. We can never undo the damages that occurred fifty years ago, however we can commit to righting the wrongs.
“Our Vietnam veterans deserve respect and gratitude for serving our nation during one of America’s longest foreign wars. I strongly encourage everyone in Connecticut to thank these courageous individuals and let them know that future generations will never forget their sacrifice. We are fortunate to walk among men and women so courageous that they will go into battle to protect us and our way of life. On behalf of the State of Connecticut, I thank Vietnam veterans for their service to our nation.”
On Thursday, March 30, 2023, at 11:00 a.m., the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs will host a Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony on its campus at 287 West Street in Rocky Hill. The ceremony is open to the public and all are welcome to attend.
We have a number Vietnam veterans among our retirees for whom this is an especially poignant anniversary. Sadly, some of them, like Doug Yocher and Tony Melillo, are no longer with us. The war was an especially difficult ordeal for Vietnam veterans given how shamefully they were treated by many of their civilian contemporaries upon their return home.
With the blessing of those of our retirees who served in Vietnam, as with our 50 WWII veterans, this website will endeavor to honor them for their service to our country, now a half century ago. God bless them all!
In September 2022, only 10 months after retiring from a decorated career with the Hamden Fire Department, Paul Turner suffered a massive stroke.
It has been a long road to recovery but Paul is a fighter. After months of being at Yale New-Haven Hospital, Gaylord Hospital and Gaylord Specialty Healthcare's Traurig House Brain Injury & Stroke Residential Program, Paul returned home on Friday, March 3rd. Now that he is home, the logistic and financial challenges of his continued care are mounting. Paul uses a wheelchair and cannot be left home alone.
House for Heroes rallied with the assistance of an army of Hamden firefighters to install a handicap ramp and retrofit bathrooms for Paul's home. As his wife Mary still needs to work outside the home, she is faced with hiring caregivers for the foreseeable future.
Additionally, insurance is limiting the number of therapy sessions per calendar year. Paul continues to improve and the additional therapy sessions are key as recommended by his doctors and therapists.
Friends have created a GoFundMe page for donations to assist Paul's family with the many expenses related to his ongoing rehabilitation. Please consider a donation to help Paul's family as we all look forward to when he is fully recovered.
Please help - CLICK HERE to donate to the GoFundMe page.
Paul dedicated his life to service serving 21 years in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Air Force Reserve, as well as, his 26 years as a Hamden Firefighter. He and his family have given so much to the country and his community, it is our hope that we can bring some financial relief to this amazing family and support Paul on his road to recovery. All funds will go to his direct care and rehabilitation
The Spring Meeting of the HFRA will be held at the Hamden Elks, 175 School Street, Wednesday afternoon, April 12th starting at noon.
FREE pizza, soda, etc. At this time we do not know whether or not the bar will be open.
Agenda (as of now):
1. Reports from the Benefits Comm., History Comm. Museum Comm.
2. Proposed by-law change to split the secretarial duties by creating the positions of Recording Secretary and Corresponding Secretary.
3. A significant donation to the GoFundMe page created recently to assist the family of retired Fire Inspector Paul Turner as he recovers from a stroke he suffered last September, just ten months after his retirement following more than 25 years with the Department.
4. Final vote to raise annual dues from $15 to $20 starting with 2024 calendar year.
5. Anything for the Good of the Association.
Those who still owe their $15 annual dues for 2023 may pay in person, mail it in, or use this PayPal link. All members in good standing will receive the new password for the secured pages on April 13th.
For your convenience, and to save you the 63-cent postage cost,
we are providing this PayPal button →
for remitting your $15 annual HFRA dues.
2023 dues cards will be given to paid-up members at the April 12th HFRA meeting, or mailed to them afterward.
Governor Lamont: Flags Lowered To Half-Staff to Honor the
Victims of the Mass Shooting in Nashville, Tennessee
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that – in accordance with a proclamation from President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. directing flags to be lowered throughout the country as a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the mass shooting this morning in Nashville, Tennessee – he is directing U.S. and state flags in Connecticut to fly at half-staff effective immediately until sunset on Friday, March 31, 2023.
CLICK HERE to read the Governor Lamont's complete proclamation.
Seated (L-R): Ralph Tortora, Jack Mordecai, Bob Viglione, Dave Strawhince, Bob Mordecai, John Spencer, and Jim Leddy; Standing (L-R): Dave Johnson, Bob Surprise, Mike DeLine Sr., George Edwards, Dave Berardesca, Ed Evers, Paul Frodel, Harold Mangler, Tom Doherty, Jeff Pechmann, Vic Mitchell, and Clark Hurlburt. (Photo by Fred Romano) CLICK TO ENLARGE
Last week, the Association had its Winter quarterly meeting at the Hamden Elks' Hall. With postage rates going up on January 22nd to 63¢ for a single first-class mailing, and with postage being one of the Association's biggest expenses, a by-law change to increase annual dues by $5 was voted unanimously. A final vote to change Article XI, Section 1 of the by-laws will take place at the April meeting. If the change passes, annual dues will be $20 starting in 2024, the first dues increase in ten years.
Longtime Association friend and former CETA employee in the Repair Shop and at Central, retired Sikorsky fire officer and Hamden Fire Commissioner Victor Mitchell was unanimously voted to Honorary Membership along with Betty Melillo, widow of Tony "Moonman" Melillo who passed away in October. A password-protected link to the meeting minutes - CLICK HERE.
Two news accounts of the January 4, 1983 general alarm fire at the Treadwell Office Park. Interviews with Chief V. Paul Leddy and several occupants. See quick glimpses of pump operator Paul Frodel and Art Heriot.
September 27, 1991 - Engine 4 was a 1984 Pierce "Dash" 1000 g.p.m. pumper and Rescue 1 was a modular unit on a 1988 GMC chassis. That's Box 118 on the front of the station. Originally located on a pole at the corner of Whitney and Dixwell, it was re-located to the front of the firehouse in the early 1980s. The Gamewell alarm was removed in 1998.
The 2023 Edition of the Association's "We Remember" video has been posted.
Check it out.
Watch "We Remember" (2023 Ed.)
Since 1918, over 325 career firefighters have served on the Hamden Fire Department. In this video, we remember the 125 known career members, including the pre-1942 volunteer chief officers and “paid drivers,” who have answered their last alarm. The retired members of the Hamden Fire Department will always remember those who served with us - and before us. This annual video update of "We Remember" for 2023 is dedicated to our friends and colleagues who are no longer with us - and to all firefighters everywhere.
Corrected and reposted 3/20/2023
North Haven Fire Department LODD
The Executive Board of the Hamden Fire Retirees Association, Inc. deeply regrets to report the death of 22-year veteran North Haven Firefighter Matthias Wirtz (46), early Monday morning while fighting a house fire on Quinnipiac Avenue. We will keep our members and other website viewers apprised of further information as it becomes available.
Please keep Firefighter Wirtz's family and fellow members of the North Haven Fire Department in your thoughts and prayers at this very sad and difficult time.
CLICK HEREfor Chief Naples' Dec. 26th message to HFD personnel
CLICK HEREfor Chief Naples' January 3rd message to HFD personnel
Governor Lamont Directs Flags To Half-Staff in Honor of North Haven Firefighter Matthias Wirtz
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is directing U.S. and state flags in Connecticut lowered to half-staff in honor of North Haven Firefighter Matthias Wirtz, who died in the line of duty this morning while responding to a residential fire.
Flags should be lowered immediately and remain lowered until sunset on the date of interment, which has not yet been determined. Accordingly, since no flag should fly higher than the U.S. flag, all other flags, including state, municipal, corporate, or otherwise, should also be lowered during this same duration of time. The Office of the Governor will send out a notification when flags should be returned to full staff.
“The passing of North Haven Firefighter Matthias Wirtz is heartbreaking, and we honor his bravery and courage in responding early this morning to a multi-alarm residential fire, where over a dozen people have become displaced,” Governor Lamont said. “This is particularly upsetting as it comes at a time of year when families and friends are gathering to celebrate the holiday season. His passing is a painful reminder that first responders work every single day of the year, 24 hours a day, and often miss holidays with their families in order to protect the people of our state. My heart is with his family, friends, and colleagues in the North Haven Fire Department.”
12/26/22 - 1729 hrs.
Dues and Meeting Notice!
The Winter Meeting of the HFRA will be held at the Hamden Elks, 175 School Street, Thursday morning, January 12th starting at 9:00 a.m.
FREE continental breakfast of Danish, donuts, juices, milk & coffee will be served.
According to a brief history published in the June 10, 1934 program for the Second Annual Hamden Firemen's Memorial Service, "On Jan. 1st, 1913, [the Humphrey fire company] moved into the present building which was built on a lot given to the Association by Mr. Mayo."
The Humphrey volunteers gave the building to the town in 1949, provided they would have exclusive use of the second floor in perpetuity. Station 2 underwent extensive renovations in 1951, converting it into a three-bay facility with the repair shop in the rear. It is presently undergoing yet another facelift.
Although the Humphrey fire company had not fought fires in over six decades, the company continued to flourish as a social organication until halfway through the last decade, when the company finally folded.
Back in July, Chief Gary Merwede, Mayor Lauren Garrett and Governor Ned Lamont announced that the State of Connecticut was contributing $8.5 million for the construction of a new Station 2 at the corner of Putnam Avenue and Gallagher Drive. The project is expected to be completed sometime in 2025. February 2025 will mark the 100th anniversary of the legislation that created the Hamden Fire Department.
CLICK HERE for more on the history of the Humphrey fire station and the Humphrey Volunteer H&L Co.2.
A Rare Look at the Upstairs at Station 2
The key to the second floor was always available to the Station 2 officer in case of emergency. In April 1988, the officer at Station 2 conducted a quick tour of the upstairs "Volunteers' Room" at Station 2. A lot of history there!
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Governor Lamont: Flags Lowered To Half-Staff in Honor of the Victims of the Mass Shooting in Monterey Park
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that – in accordance with a proclamation from President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. directing flags to be lowered throughout the country as a mark of solemn respect for victims of the mass shooting last night in Monterey Park, California – he is directing U.S. and state flags in Connecticut to fly at half-staff beginning immediately until sunset on Thursday, January 26, 2023.
Accordingly, since no flag should fly higher than the U.S. flag, all other flags, including state, municipal, corporate, or otherwise, should also be lowered during this same duration of time.
CLICK HERE to read the Governor Lamont's complete proclamation.
Non-members may subscribe to HFRA archived web pages.
For a recommended $10 annual donation, non-HFRA members may access all HFRA archives, except the "Members Only" pages.