October 30, 2020
Deputy Fire Chief Michael O’Connor recently addressed the Dover Colonial Rotary Club, providing an overview of what his department does and some of the problems it experiences.
As part of the introduction, Mr. William “Bill” Torbert provided those in attendance with a brief history of Robbins Hose Fire Department, which began its operation in 1882. Complimentary comments were also provided by Mayor Robin Christiansen and City Council President William “Bill” Hare. All three gentlemen are themselves Rotarians. It was quite evident that the fire company enjoys a great relationship with the community, which the deputy chief emphasized.
Robbins Hose Fire Company is the only volunteer one among all 50 state capitals. It was pointed out that because members are all volunteers, city taxes are probably half of what they otherwise would be. For instance, the company is currently acquiring a new fire truck at the cost of $750,000. It will also soon need a special pumper to replace its aging one, which will come with a price tag of about $1.2 million. Donations to the company assist with these types of expenses rather than for salaries.
Recruiting new members has become a problem, especially in these past few years. The approach used has been to provide talks to high school students and other youth-oriented organizations. For every ten individuals who agree to join, only one will probably remain after a year on duty. The training is rigorous and time-consuming. “The novelty soon wears out,” Mr. O’Connor said, “You have to have something in your heart – we don’t get anything in return.” Presently sleeping quarters are being prepared on the second floor of station No. 1, thus assuring that there will always be a crew on hand to address the community’s needs. 1,300 to 1,400 calls are received annually.
Following the deputy chief’s presentation, a total of $1,806 was presented on behalf of the Dover Colonial Rotary Club – a $500 check from the club itself and $1,306 collected from the membership present.
For additional information about the Dover Colonial Rotary Club, which meets each Friday morning at the Maple Date Country Club, and Rotary International, please contact us.