White Hills and Huntington FD walk away with trophies

Heads held high after fire parade wins

Marching in the Bridgewater Country Fair parade was a little more special this year for two Shelton fire companies who came home with three trophies.

Huntington Fire Company #3 won “Best Appearing Rescue” for its new rescue truck, and the White Hills Fire Company #5 brought home trophies for “Best Appearing Fire Company in Coats” and “Best Appearing Aerial” for its new aerial fire truck.

“We’re happy to keep up the tradition of winning awards,” said Jason Mitchell, first lieutenant with the Huntington Fire Company.

Winning the trophy for the rescue truck was satisfying, he said, because in 1987, the company won the overall state championship for its then brand new rescue truck.

To get ready for this year’s Bridgewater Fair parade, Huntington fire company members spent up to 40 hours washing and “prepping” the rescue truck.

“It’s a full team effort,” Mitchell said, and 40 members helped to ready the truck for the parade that included five Huntington marchers.

“We all do it because of the camaraderie,” he said. The entire Huntington company mobilized to prepare the truck for the parade, and those participating in the parade reconnected with firefighters from other towns.

“The guys take a lot of pride in our apparatus,” said Second Lt. Don Zak, and the company has won first place honors for the new rescue truck in three other parades this year, including Bethany, Oxford Center and Beacon Falls.

Increased participation

White Hills First Lt. Kevin McCue said the 23 fire company members that marched in the Bridgewater parade represented the largest number he’s seen in the four years he’s been involved with the parade.

Four years ago, White Hills was represented by “three or four guys and one truck,” McCue said.

This year’s large number of marchers was “impressive,” he said, and he credits it to membership involvement.

“We’ve been getting a lot of active guys,” he said.

Winning the trophies “felt pretty good,” McCue said. “We’ve been going there for a couple of years and hadn’t won anything. We’re proud of our new ladder truck.”

Shelton Fire Chief Fran Jones said the city’s fire equipment is “kept in tip-top condition. It shows the dedication members have to the fire department and to the City of Shelton.”

Fire company members spend hours and hours detailing the fire trucks, he said.

All Shelton fire companies have taken home trophies over the years during the parade season, Jones said. The season includes about 15 parades sponsored by the Connecticut State Firefighters Association.

The Bridgewater Country Fair Parade features area volunteer fire companies from Connecticut and New York.

“It was a great parade and a great country fair,” Mitchell said.

The Huntington company is gearing up for the CT State Firefighters Convention parade to take place September 20 in Beacon Falls.

“We’re going for that Number 1 spot,” Zak said.