Pa. city to host 116th annual Six-County Firemen’s Association Convention

The convention during the winter of 1903-04 to unite the firefighters into one organization that would have a larger say in the State Firemen’s Association of Pennsylvania


Jill Whalen
Standard-Speaker, Hazleton, Pa.

HAZLETON, Pa. — Hazleton will host the 116th annual Six-County Firemen’s Association Convention on Friday and Saturday.

And while there won’t be a parade this year, there will be a banquet, a memorial service and a mug night complete with food, drink and music.

On Saturday, the association will meet for a business session at the South Side Fire Station, 525 E. Broad St. An 11 a.m. memorial service with a roll call of the deceased will be held at Mission Life Church, South Poplar and Juniper streets, Hazleton. (Photo/ Six-County Firemen’s Association Convention)
On Saturday, the association will meet for a business session at the South Side Fire Station, 525 E. Broad St. An 11 a.m. memorial service with a roll call of the deceased will be held at Mission Life Church, South Poplar and Juniper streets, Hazleton. (Photo/ Six-County Firemen’s Association Convention)

“It is fitting to note that the birthplace of the association is Hazleton, in 1903, and this will be the 11th time the convention has been held here,” said Michael “Mike” Cassic, who serves on the association’s executive committee.

A committee comprised of members from Hazleton’s five volunteer fire companies began planning the events last July, he said.

First off is an awards banquet Friday at Edgewood in the Pines, Drums, for those who preregistered. A social hour for those guests follows at the Diamond Fire Company in Hazleton.

On Saturday, the association will meet for a business session at the South Side Fire Station, 525 E. Broad St. An 11 a.m. memorial service with a roll call of the deceased will be held at Mission Life Church, South Poplar and Juniper streets, Hazleton. The public is invited to the service, as well as a Mug Night at the rear of the Southside station from 5 to 9 p.m..

“Buy a mug and we will fill it for four hours,” Cassic said. “There will be blue birch beer for the under 21 guests.”

A Dollar Days menu will feature $1 offerings, including mini meatball hoagies and sausage barbecue, along with three pierogies or a scoop of homemade halushki. Disc jockey Louie D will spin tunes.

Cassic said many familiar faces attend the Mug Night.

“We have guys from (New) Jersey who came in 1972 to help pump cellars after (Hurricane) Agnes and have been back every year since,” he said. A man known as “The Crooner” from Hanover will lead a sing-along.

Cassic said the city last hosted the convention in 2010 as a joint venture with the McAdoo Fire Department.

While a parade was held at the 2018 convention in Hanover Twp., planners decided to cancel it this year due to dwindling participation.

Cassic said the association has quite a history.

It started during the winter of 1903-04 when the Hazleton Firemen’s Relief Association sent letters to all fire companies in Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne and Schuylkill counties. The plan was to unite the firefighters into one organization that would have a larger say in the State Firemen’s Association of Pennsylvania.

The first meetings were held from Diamond Fire Company.

Two years later, Montour and Northumberland counties were added to the fold.

Over the years, the Six-County Firemen’s Association has implemented programs to reward and promote the good work of the fire service. Among them are training grants, which are available to any member company upon request. The association also gives out valor and courage awards to those who have distinguished themselves with an act of bravery.

It sponsors the Sawchak Memorial Fire Prevention Award, given to individuals and organizations in the field of fire prevention. In 2014, the association founded the Mark Coons Scholarship Fund to award those seeking higher education.

And most recently, in 2017, it started the Fire Chief Hall of Fame to honor the work, dedication and leadership of fire chiefs from the six counties.

Contact the writer:

jwhalen@standardspeaker.com; 570-501-3592

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©2019 the Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, Pa.)

 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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