WHITE LAKE, NY — No doubt about it, a real hometown sense of pride in America was in the air, as an estimated 1,500 spectators turned out to watch the 93rd Sullivan County Volunteer …
WHITE LAKE, NY — No doubt about it, a real hometown sense of pride in America was in the air, as an estimated 1,500 spectators turned out to watch the 93rd Sullivan County Volunteer Firefighters Association (SCVFA) parade on September 17.
Legions of firefighters, ladies’ auxiliaries, EMS companies, law enforcement agencies and types of apparatus, both vintage and state-of-the art, wound their way slowly about a mile along Route 17B.
As is now a tradition in the county, the procession passed beneath a giant American flag suspended over the roadway between towers of aerial apparatus from Monticello and Fallsburg.
You could hear the stomp of highly polished black leather boots echo off the pavement, the marchers advancing in measured left-foot-forward cadence, as the procession passed White Lake Fire Company’s Station 35.
Most departments were led by flag-carrying members of their respective color guards.
In a somber moment of reflection, near the head of the procession, White Lake Fire Company chief Josh Cunningham carried the helmet of Rookie Firefighter of the Year Award recipient Aaron Terpstra, a member of the company who passed away in a work-related accident in late February.
In the company’s Facebook posting, the fire department described Terpstra as “someone who joined out of a desire to be a part of something bigger than themselves, someone who answered the call, and was always eager to learn the next thing… we have not forgotten about his passion, and the impact he had on his community.”
The sense of duty and honor, both to the country and to those who serve, was on full display during the parade. Each time the color guards passed in review, the firefighters and military veterans lining both sides of the road stood silently and saluted the colors shining defiantly, backlit by a cloudless early-afternoon sun.
The escort division was led by the Town of Bethel constable, followed in short order by the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office Color Guard, the SCVFA, Past Chief and current Grand Marshal of the parade Thomas Hendrickson, a marching band, the White Lake Fire Company and Auxiliary—and the list continued through four more divisions.
According to Chief Cunningham, this was the first time the Town of Bethel was selected as the site of the annual parade.
“We had a great day, and I hope everybody enjoyed it,” he said.
For more about becoming a volunteer for fire or EMS squads, visit www.facebook.com/joinsullivanfire.
Click here for more photos from the parade.
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