History

Greenbackville Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.

 

 

 History Timeline of Events 

Jan. 1956          Fire damages a home located on Front Street, in Greenbackville, on January 1st. The fire was quickly extinguished by utilizing a bucket brigade since the home was only about 500 feet from the harbor. During the daylight hours of January 30th, a second house located on Stockton Avenue next to the post office is destroyed by fire. Furniture salvaged from the second fire was moved to a nearby vacant store thereby igniting a fire that destroyed the large two-story store and a brand new car that was parked outside, at 2:00 A.M., on January 31st. Fire companies from Stockton, Girdletree, New Church, Pocomoke, Snow Hill & Chincoteague responded to answer the calls for assistance.

 

 

Feb. 1956          A Town meeting is held at the old High School building, at seven 0’clock in the evening, on February 14th, for the said purpose of forming a fire company. Town residents pledged one-thousand dollars towards starting a fire company and temporary officers were elected that same night. “The Greenbackville Volunteer Fire Department, Incorporated”, was duly organized and was officially chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia, on April 10, 1956. Mr. Woodrow Dryden was elected to the position of Fire Chief and Mr. Merrill Marshall was elected to serve as the first President.  During this new era; the men and women met as one, and held several Chicken & Dumpling suppers at the schoolhouse to raise money for the newly formed department, since funds at the county & state level were very limited if not, non-existent.

 

 

Feb. 1956          First unofficial Firehouse is Nelson Collin’s old barn, located across the street from the late Dora Jester’s home, on Front Street (currently named Bayfront Street). This barn stored equipment such as ladders and buckets and eventually the first engine.

 

 

March 1956      Purchased first fire engine, a used 1938 International, from the Lombarde Beach, Maryland Fire Company, at a cost of $1,000.  The first fire was extinguished only hours after the truck had arrived. In appreciation for the engine, members of the GVFD sent several gallons of Chincoteague Bay Oysters to their fellow members in Lombarde Beach. 

 

 

March 1956      During a secret ballot, with a majority of the members present, the ladies of the Department voted to organize as a separate entity; thereby forming the Greenbackville V.F.D. Ladies Auxiliary.

 

 

March 1956      Purchased a second fire truck, a used 1947 Ford “homemade” tank truck from the New Church Vol. Fire Company, at a cost of $600.  This truck remained in active service until 1975, when at the time was designated "Unit 2-5".

 

  

March 1956      John A. Selby, of Greenbackville, donated a small piece of property on Ellis Street, located near the center of town; to enable the department to build a Firehouse. After members toured several neighboring towns Firehouse’s; they voted to construct a building designed very similar to that of Stockton V.F.C., without the right side wing.  

 

 

Sept. 1956         Fire trucks were placed in the firehouse for the first time on September 1st, although the building was not totally complete. The first meeting in the firehouse was held on September 4th. Construction of the firehouse had been completed by the people of Greenbackville and surrounding areas, with the exception of the laying of cinder blocks.

 





Oct. 1956          Dedication of the Original Firehouse on Ellis Street was held on October 28th.

 

 

June 1957         Household trash pickup service began, and lasted until December 1980. The beginning price was only $.25 per week. A total of four (4) trash trucks would be used over the many years. (The first trash truck was a early 1940's, unknown of make/model.) 

1959                 G.V.F.D. began the tradition of making delicious Homemade Ice Cream, in three flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate and Pineapple. The five-gallon (20 Quart) ice cream freezers were manufactured by the White Mountain Company. In the beginning, the Ice Cream was served by the cup, at departmental suppers that were held. During the early 1960's the membership began selling the delicacy to the public by the quart, during March and November of each year. The long-standing tradition is still continued to this day, and is a very well-known local fundraising event.   

 

1959                 Mortgage burning ceremony is held. The note was in the amount of six thousand five hundred dollars ($6,500.00), borrowed from the Hallwood National Bank.

 

 

April 1960         G.V.F.D. purchased a used 1948 open cab Seagrave pumper, on April 17th. This truck had no doors, and had a 6 volt electrical system. Unit was obtained from the Commonwealth of Virginia, for the amount of $76.15. It ran as the first due Engine until 1963. It was retired from service during 1968 and sold for parts to Mr. Harris Bloxom, of Greenbackville, in the amount of $100.00 on April 11, 1968. The original 1938 International pumper was then transformed into a Trash Truck; the second truck to serve as the Trash Truck.)

 

March 1962      The Ash Wednesday Storm, devastates Greenbackville and what was left of it's sister town, Franklin City. Many homes 
                         along the waterfront in "Franklin" were destroyed and almost the entire town of Greenbackville was covered by several feet of high
                         tidal water. The "nor'easters" storm surge also caused flooding in excess of 18" inside the newly constructed Greenbackville
                         Firehouse, which is located about two blocks inland from the Chincoteague Bay. After the tide finally receded, members of the GVFD
                         were assisted by our neighbors from the Stockton Vol. Fire Company with the task of washing out mud & debris
                         that had been left behind from the storm, in the interior of most homes. (It should be noted that Greenbackville will always be grateful
                         to the citizens of Stockton, Maryland; the Stockton Volunteer Fire Company; the Maryland National Guard and members of the U.S.
                         Navy, who assisted in evacuating our tiny seaside town, which had been literally forgotton by the Commonwealth of Virginia). Many
                         of the town of Greenbackville & Franklin City's residents were fed and housed at the Stockton firehouse for up to two weeks following 
                         the storm. Atlantic District Supervisor H. Vernon Drewer of Saxis, was the first Virginia elected official to tour Greenbackville, and
                         asked for immediate relief assistance. Sheriff Adair Matthews appointed Fire Chief Charles Bodley as the acting official for requesting
                         aid for Greenbackville and Franklin City.  

1963                 Purchased the first new fire engine on Feb. 6th, a 1963 International Loadstar - Model 1700, from Parks Motors of Parksley, Virginia at a cost of around $10,000. The chassis was delivered on June 26th. F.L Anderson Co. equipped it with a 200 GPM, midship pump; and a 1000 gallon steel tank. First designated as Unit #6, later re-numbered Unit 2-3. It was puchased to increase the size of the fleet.    

 

1968                 Miss Greenbackville – Esther M. Williams, is named the 1968 Miss Del-Mar-Va Fire Prevention Queen; at the annual Del-Mar-Va Firemen’s Association Fire Prevention Parade & Queens Contest, held in Delmar, Delaware.

 

1970                 Purchased a used 1947 Chevrolet truck to be used as a Trash Truck. It would be the third Trash truck to serve the community. 
 

1970                 The wing adding the Meeting Room and Storage Room was completed.  

 

1971                 Purchased a used 1953 Ford/American LaFrance fire engine from the Onancock Fire Department, in the amount of $2,500.00 to replace the old '48 Seagrave; which had been retired three (3) years earlier, in 1968. It was first designated Unit #7, later Re-numbered Unit 2-4. This unit was sold in 1979, presumably to Somerset Well Drilling Company of Marion Station, Maryland.  

 

1973                 After several discussions, the members voted to purchased two (2) Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA); at a cost of $700.

           

1974                 Junior Firemen Program is first implemented. Ages 12-17 years of age were accepted


1974                 Purchased a used Ford truck, at a cost of $3,150.00 to be used as a Trash truck. It would serve as the fourth, and final trash truck.  
                        (The membership voted to end the trash collection as of December 1980, partially due to lack of interest by the residents.)
              

1975                 Purchased a used 750 GPM Barton-American front mount pump to be installed on the 1963 International.  It was installed by F.L. Anderson Company of Baltimore, Maryland. Just a few months later, this “new” pump, would operate for over eight hours at the disastrous Atlantic High School Fire, in Oak Hall.

 

1975                 Purchased a used Ford F-750 cab-over chassis, to be used as a Tanker, designated "Unit 2-7". From July to December 1975 the department operated four pieces of fire equipment: 1947 Ford (Unit 2-5); 1953 Ford/ALF (Unit 2-4); 1963 International (Unit 2-3); and a 1970 Ford (Unit 2-7). 
 

1978                 The Greenbackville V.F.D. Rescue Squad was formed, originally as a separate entity of the Fire Department; as the closest ambulance service was located over 12 miles away, in Snow Hill, Maryland.

 

 

1978                 Purchased a 1978 Ford LT-800 chassis from Carlton Massey, of Pocomoke City, Maryland. Sanford Fire Apparatus installed a used 3,800 gallon tank & a new 750 GPM Hale front-mount pump, at a total cost of $38,000. This apparatus replaced the 1970 Ford Cab-over Tanker that was sold to a farmer in Wachapreague, Virginia. It is designated "Unit 2-7".

 

 

1979                 Purchased the first Ambulance from the Ocean City Vol. Fire Company, a 1973 Chevrolet, designated “Unit 2-1”. To make room for the ambulance, the second run engine, Unit 2-4 had to be sold. (During the 60’s & 70's the dept. had operated two engines; however, beginning in 1979, GVFD decided to operate with a single Engine.)

 

 

1979                 Willie R. Sharpley, serves as President of the Del-Mar-Va Volunteer Firemen’s Association during 1979-1980; the first and only person do so from Greenbackville.   

 

 

1980                 During May 9-10, 1980 the Greenbackville V.F.D. & Wachapreague V.F.C. jointly host the 51st Annual Del-Mar-Va Firemen’s Convention and Parade, in Wachapreague, Va.

1982                 Purchased a demonstrator 1982 Ford Econoline van-style ambulance. Designated “Unit 2-1”, the old 1973 Chevy unit was sold to the Saxis V.F.C.

 

 

1986                 The 1978 Ford Tanker is completely refurbished including installing a new 3,000 gallon fiberglass tank, built by L.T.I., Inc., of Ephrata, PA., at a cost of $55,000. The old tank was given to Mr. Richard Culver and remained on his property for several years.

 

 

1989                 Placed "Engine 2-3", a new 1989 Pierce Lance Custom Engine, equipped with a 1250 GPM top-mount pump & 1000 gallon tank in service, on March 18. It was purchased from Pierce Manufacturing of Appleton, Wisconsin, at a total (equipped) cost of $160,000, and was the first ever Pierce-Custom engine on the entire Eastern Shore of Virginia. GVFD also placed into service 1,000 feet of 5” Large Diameter Supply Hose (LDH) on this new engine. The old “beloved” 1963 International pumper was retired from service after serving for almost 27 years. It was sold for $7,000 to Denny Pressler; of Beebe, Arkansas in December 1989.

 

  

1992                 Purchased a demonstrator 1990 Ford/P.L. Custom Ambulance. The old 1982 Ford unit was sold to Life Star Ambulance Company, in Salisbury, Maryland. 

 

1993                 Miss Greenbackville – Melissa C. Matthews, is named the 1993 Miss Del-Mar-Va Fire Prevention Queen; at the annual Del-Mar-Va Firemen’s Association Fire Prevention Parade & Queens Contest, held in Hartly, Delaware. 

 

1995                 Greenwood, Delaware Fire Department donated a used 1983 Dodge Van, to be used as a personnel/utility vehicle. It was designated “Unit 2-9”.

 

 

1998                 Received a donation of $100,000 from Mr. Richard A. Culver towards building a new fire station.  It is has since been told to have been the largest single monetary donation given to a fire department on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

 

 

1999                 After conducting a decade long fund drive, and purchasing three adjacent homes; a Modern Three Bay Drive-Thru, Fire Station is constructed on Stockton Avenue, with various financial contributions from throughout our community.

 

 

2000                 The original Firehouse is partially remodeled. The GVFD & Ladies Auxiliary completely renovated the kitchen including new appliances and counter tops. New floor tiles and windows were also installed throughout the entire building. A ruptured internal water pipe would seriously damage the interior of the building during January 2004.

 

 

2000                 New Fire Station dedication on September 30. Special recognition was given to Mr. Richard Culver; Mr. & Mrs. C.D. Fleming, Jr. and Mr. & Mrs. Franklin Holland; whose contributions helped make the construction of the new station possible.

                            

2000                Purchased a used 1989 GMC-3500 pickup truck, to be used as a brush truck. Designated “Brush 2”, the unit is equipped with a 250 GPM pump and a 250 gallon water tank.

 

 

2000                 Purchased and placed into service ten (10) new Scott 4.5 Self-contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), at a total cost of over $30,000.

 

 

2002                Purchased a used 1978 Duplex/Pierce/L.T.I. 100’ Aerial Truck, at a cost of $55,000. Designated “Truck 2”, unit is equipped with a 1500 GPM Waterous Pump. It formerly ran as "Ladder 7", (Car 41) with the Des Moines, Iowa Fire Department. .

 

 

2002                 Purchased a demonstrator 2000 Ford E-450/Med-tec Ambulance. Designated “A 2-2”, the older 1990 Ford Econoline, “A 2-1” was kept in active service and remained the second run ambulance.

 

 

2002                 Purchased a used 1983 Seagrave Rescue Truck to provide extended protection for our Fire & EMS district. Designated “Rescue 2”, this unit first ran as “Squad 1” with the St. Louis Fire Department and later as “Rescue 71-6”, with the Blades, Delaware Fire Company.

 

  

2002                 Rescue Fire Company, of Cambridge, Maryland donates a 1974 Boston Whaler, 18’ Rescue Boat. It is designated “Marine 2”. 

 

2003                 Marion, Maryland Volunteer Fire Department donates a used 1987 Ford Econoline Van, designated “Unit 2-9”. The old van was in turn donated to the New Church Vol. Fire & Rescue Company.

 

 

2004                 Determined to preserve the heritage of our department, the original firehouse was completely renovated into a formal Banquet Hall and is officially re-dedicated as the “Greenbackville V.F.D. - Banquet Hall”.

 


2005                 Obtained a grant in the amount of $23,750 through the Assistance to Firefighter’s Grant Program, administered by the Department of Homeland Security; to purchase a 75 Kilowatt, John Deere Diesel Generator. It will supply emergency power to both the Fire Station and Banquet Hall.

 

 

2006                 The Greenbackville Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., celebrated 50 years of faithful and dedicated service to our community and its surrounding areas, on September 30th. Events included a special Memorial Service, Antique Fire Truck Parade, and Firemen’s Olympics. The living charter members of the department were formally recognized and included: Charles Bodley, Eddie Chapman, James Marshall, Ronald Matthews, Earl Schmedeke, Skippy Sharpley, and Willard Northam. Charter Member Charles Bowmann, had passed away at his home just days prior to the event, on September 13, 2006. The Living Charter Members of the Greenbackville Volunteer Fire Department - Ladies Auxiliary were also presented state proclamations at the Memorial Service. Those receiving awards were Eleanor Bodley, Sarah Hill, Olga Jones, Lois Marshall, Gloria Sharpley and Effie Williams; who was in fact the first Ladies Auxiliary President. As fore- mentioned, her father, Mr. Merrill Marshall, had also served as the first president of the Greenbackville Volunteer Fire Department.

 

2007                GVFD members Thomas and Catherine Sharpley purchase a beautiful Vintage 1950 Seagrave Open-cab pumper, an almost
                         identical replica of the original '48 Seagrave. It has "Greenbackville, Va", lettered on each side of the hood. The Sharpleys' plan
                         to make "Antique Engine 2" available to the department for parades, funerals and other special events. 
 

2008            GVFD graciously accepts the title to a 1998 Ford Crown Victoria, donated by Thomas & Catherine Sharpley, of Virginia Beach, Virginia; to be used as a personnel/utility vehicle. It is Designated “2-9”. The old 1987 Ford van “Unit 2-9”, was donated to the recently organized Flatland Search & Rescue Team, of Oak Hall, Virginia.

 

 

2008            GVFD accepts delivery of a new custom Horton - Model 555 Ambulance, mounted on a 2008 GMC 4500 chassis. The unit was purchased through FESCO Emergency Sales, of Elkridge, Md., at a total cost of $163,000. "Ambulance 2-1" was placed in service at 1000 hrs on June, 16th. The new unit replaced the aging 1990 Ford/P.L. Custom ambulance that had served since 1992. It was sold to ALL-PRO Plumbing Services, Virginia Beach, Virginia.

2009                 GVFD approves the purchase of a new custom Peterbilt Tanker from Freedom Fire Equipment, of Marietta, Georgia. The contract was signed on July 14, 2009.

2009                GVFD removes the town Christmas lights on September 17, which had adorned Stockton Avenue, Church Street and Bayfront
                        Street for over 25 years. The lights had first been installed in 1959. 

2010                 GVFD accepts delivery of a new 3000 gallon - Freedom Fire Tanker, mounted on a 2010 Peterbilt model 348 chassis. The unit
                         was purchased through Freedom Fire Equipment of Marietta, Georgia, at a total cost of $187,366. "Tanker 2-7" was placed in
                         service at 1900 hrs on March 16. The new unit will replace the aging 1978/1986 Ford/L.T.I. tanker that had served since 1978.
The old 1978 Ford unit was temporarily designated Tanker 2-8 on April 12th.
 

  

2010                 GVFD removes the 1978/1986 Ford Tanker from active service on June 4, at 1331 hrs, after serving the community for almost
                        32 years. The truck was sold to the North End V.F.D. of Sparta, Tennessee. It left Greenbackville on Saturday, June 5 at 1000 hrs.

2011                GVFD removes "Marine 2" from the fleet during November. It will be maintained by the neighboring Stockton Vol. Fire Company 
                        (Worcester County, MD. - Station 200).

2012                GVFD removes Rescue 2 from service and the unit is officially retired on January 3, at approximately 1740 hrs. The unique
                        apparatus served in front-line service for over 4 decades, serving in St. Louis, Missouri; Blades, Delaware and Greenbackville, Va. 
                        Ownership was transferred to Tom and Catherine Sharpley, owners of the the "Vintage Fire Brigade".

2012                GVFD purchases a used 2003 Ford E-350 Super-duty, 15 passenger van from the Ocean City, Maryland Vol. Fire Company                                   during March. The 1998 Crown Victoria was removed from service on May 13, 2012 and was sold to a private owner. 

2012                Little Miss Greenbackville, Layla Webster is crowned Little Miss Del-Mar-Va at the Del-Mar-Va Volunteer Firemen's Association,
                        Annual Fire Prevention Queens Contest & Parade held in Eastville, Virginia on Sunday, October 7, 2012.  

2012                GVFD removes Brush 2 (1989 GMC Sierra) from service on December 31st. The unit had been placed into service during 2000.
                        (It was sold to the Cape Charles Volunteer Fire Company on February 26, 2013).

2013                GVFD removes Truck 2 (1978 Simon-Duplex/Pierce/L.T.I.) from service on January 29th. It was sold to Allen Lindsey of Louisville,
Kentucky on January 30th. 

2013 GVFD places a new 2012 Pierce Saber 75' Ladder Truck into service on February 23rd. Designated "Truck 2" it is equipped 
                        with a 1500 GPM Hale pump, 500 gallon water tank and 75' Aluminum Ladder. The unit was purchased through Brian Bashista, of 
                        Atlantic Emergency Solutions.

    

  
This information is hereby considered to be accurate, most of which was obtained from the
Original minutes of the Greenbackville Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. 
Dated - February 14, 1956 - February 20, 2013

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