Our History

History of the Volney Volunteer Fire Corporation

In the summer of 1948, several people living in the Town of Volney decided that it was time there was an organization founded that would be responsible for the protection of the homes and businesses from that dreaded danger of fire. On July 20, 1948, the Volney Town Board held a special meeting at which time there was a resolution submitted which was as follows: "We the undersigned, constituting a majority of the Town Board of the Town of Volney, Oswego County, New York, do hereby consent to the formation of the Volney Volunteer Fire Corporation, and do hereby approve the foregoing certificate of incorporation and consent that the same be filed". The supervisor was Irving Taylor, Justices Asa K. Hill, Elmer E. Taylor, Howard J.Ives, and Erwin Rockwood. On the 29th of October, 1948, another special Town Board meeting was held for the purpose of discussing fire protection for the Volney Fire Protection District, comprising of all of the Town of Volney lying outside of the Minetto Fire Protection District. After the consideration and discussion, a motion was made by Justice Erwin Rockwood and seconded by Justice Howard Ives, authorizing the town clerk to advertise for a public hearing for the purpose of considering and making a contract with the Volney Volunteer Fire Corporation for fire protection. Term of the contract to be five years at a cost to the town of $2,700 per year. On November 16, 1948 the public hearing was held and there was no one that appeared to object to the fire contract so the county attorney was ordered to prepare a contract between the Town of Volney and the Volney Volunteer Fire Corporation. This being a separate corporation, the Volney Town Board has no control over the fire department. When the original contract was signed between the town and the fire corporation, there was also a separate contract with the Minetto Fire Department and the town needed a separate contract with that department for the protection for the residents of the Seneca Hill area. Minetto was also paid each year for fire protection. As the new Volney Fire Protection District was formed, the following officers were elected: Harry Lathrop, president and Joseph Vant, vice-president. Joe Vant also served as fire chief at the outset. The Ladies Auxiliary was organized on September 30, 1948 and the first officers of that organization were: V.M. Fitzgerald, president, Lena Ives, vice-president, Lillian Tilden, secretary, and Grace McEwen, treasurer. The worked alongside the men to assure continued success of the organizations. At first they worked out of the garage at the town hall. The auxiliary was instrumental in having a kitchen built on the South side of the building. They held suppers, dances and other activities to help supplement the income of the fire department. The old town hall had served as a meeting place for the firemen for many years until they built until they built their own fire house East of County Route 6 on the North side of State Route 3. March 27, 1966 was a joyous occasion for the local fire department as they gathered for the mortgage burning on their new fire house. In the early days they would often throw their brooms, etc. in the back of a pick-up truck and go to grass fires to help put them out. Over the years they added newer and better equipment for their use in fighting fires. They are in the mutual aid network whereby they will go to nearby towns to assist in any way they can in the event of fire or other disaster, such as automobile accidents. In the summer of 2001, the Volney Volunteer Fire Corporation moved into their newly renovated, state-of-the-art quarters on the same location. The first equipment purchased by the department included a fire truck, boots and hose approximately costing $15,000. In 1975, a second fire house was added to the corporation's property when they opened Station 2in the Seneca Hill area on the March Road. This eliminated the need for a fire contract with Minetto Fire Department for fire protection in that area. The cost of fire trucks now approach or exceed $400,000 and it is no wonder why the town contract is now over $200,000 per year. Today, the Volney Volunteer Fire Corporation has two fire stations housing 4 pumpertankers, 3 rescue vehicles, a boat and a utility truck. Station 1 on State Route 3 is the main station and has offices and a 250 seat hall for meetings, banquets, special functions and weekly bingo games. The property also is the site of the annual firemen's field days which is anticipated each year by residents in the surrounding areas

Dedication to Joe Vant VVFC’s First Fire Chief

Dedication to Joe Vant VVFC’s First Fire Chief (this document was read at the new station dedication ceremonies on November10, 2001) Joe Vant was a big man. He had a huge impact on our community. Joe possessed a large pool of talents which he used to the fullest. God gave him a gigantic source of energy which was needed to assess, plan, organize, execute and over see the tremendous problems and tasks set before him. Joe was also a man of great stature: tall, broad shoulders, long arms and big hands. He also possessed a deep commanding voice, heard above the crowd. Joe loved Volney and to him, there was no other place to live. This man had Volney’s dirt in his veins (a pun on his occupation of a dairy farmer). His family, friends and neighbors were his main concern. His family roots were set down in the early and mid 1800’s in Volney Center and Mt. Pleasant. Their history shows a great deal of community involvement and civil duty. Joe lived up to and surpassed these high standards. Joe was a senior in high school when his father died. His broad shoulders took on the responsibilities of the family and running the farm. When his mother passed away in 1943, there were still school-aged sisters at home. At this time he began his civic career by assuming his mother’s job, one of the town’s Republican Committeemen. It was in 1948 when he was approached to head up the organization process of forming the town’s fire department. About 1951-52 he saw a need to have better communications with other town fire chiefs, therefore the Oswego County Chief’s Association. It was soon clear to them that a larger network was need so about 1953, the Oswego County Fire Advisory Board was formed. One of their first objectives was the development of Oswego County’s mutual aid system. Jim and Pearl Jackson were secured to be the coordinators with a radio in their home. For many years this dedicated couple manned their station 24-7. Another objective was to have all the townships place road signs on all their roads enabling the aiding fire companies to locate fires. Back home in Volney, Joe facilitated the brainstorming of ideas needed to raise money for much needed equipment, land, buildings, and training for the department. There were the field days, and its activities, organize parades. A task that he took on as a personal one was to roam around the field to see that the operation was working smoothly and stop problems before they escalated. Surely his intimidating size encouraged some that they had had enough and it was time to go home. Joe also served on the Volney Town Planning Board. He was most proud with the Miller Brewing plant in Volney. He was also on the board or directory for GLF, now Agway. Overseeing the building of their building on West Broadway in Fulton was a time consuming task. In later years his son Jim took over the farming duties and Joe took on the hat of Volney Town Highway Superintendent. What special talents did Joe possess in order to accomplish all that he did? He was a global thinker. He could see the “big picture”, and what was needed to be done to accomplish it. He knew people and their talents. So as a good administrator, Joe would present the task to a man, encourage him, and then set him loose. Some quick examples: John Falanga was the chief engineer for the trucks. John knew the job, took pride in his work, was always there, and would never let you down. Al Seguin was the medic at all fires, Bud Hawksley was Chaplain, Charlie Coe oversaw the parades with Joe. Ced Hall was his right-hand man at fires and working at the field days. If there was low manpower at fires and Amos Baldwin was on hand, he would handle one line alone. Need men in high places and on the roof, send in the iron workers. Joe had great pride in his men. People sought his council and rational decision-making ability. There was often a second row of chairs around a dinner table. The man had a sense of equality and fairness. He didn’t prejudge people, he believed in the goodness of men. His integrity wasn’t questioned. Joe had the amazing ability to be comfortable with people of all kinds of social levels. His philosophy with meeting people: first of all put your hand out and tell them who you are. Joe Vant loved life and could step back and laugh at life. If something was really bothering him it showed in his dark, Irish humor. Joe had a big heart. He gave not only his advice, but from his garden, his table, and his pocket. He believed that a man’s self esteem improved when he had a job. Joe helped many secure jobs and if he couldn’t do that, he created work on the farm. Let’s not forget that he was Volney Center’s Pied Piper as there always quite a following of teenaged boys under his wing. The undeclared “Mayor of Volney” held court in his kitchen, the barn, committee meetings, and at various field days. Just look for the real tall man with a group of laughing men circled around him. At the fire scene he was definitely the man in charge. His voice, like a bull elk could easily be heard issuing orders. He knew exactly what he wanted and you had best jump! But, he never asked a fireman to do what he would not do himself. There were several firs that he put himself in very dangerous situations. The man was humble and was not one to toot his own horn. For sure, Joe wasn’t living life for money or fame. Then why did he set out to be involved in all those activities? For one, who wasn’t very good at saying: “No.” His payment was to see the improvement of life around him in his community. His belief was you start at home and then it will spread. He enjoyed people and fed off their lives and contributions. There was an inner drive in him to be the best that he could be. But all of this could not happen if he hadn’t had his executive assistant, his wife, Clara. He’d give the orders and she spent the hours on the phone and the road taking care of the details. Their skills were truly entwined and worked smoothly as a unit. Joe has been gone for nearly 12 years. Many who knew him best have also left us. Hopefully, this monument will help those of us left to remember this giant of a man and his contributions to our