The WFD has many factors contributing to its success since it’s founding in 1881
Our Fire Department has achieved these successes through the efforts of its members, veterans and auxiliary as well as through the support of Town and Municipal Governments.
The Auxiliary is a dedicated group of people who have worked diligently for over 50 years to promote and improve this Fire Department. It is made up of Spouses and Partners of our members and veterans as well as others of the community who support WFD in its needs for equipment and apparatus through their fundraising. They regularly provide meals for WFD training which enables extended time frames for this valuable education to take place. Originally comprised solely of women it is now open to both women and men.
The original Auxiliary was known as the WFD Ladies Auxiliary and was formed in September of 1958 by 15 women whose men folk were members of this Department. These were women who recognised that the fire department needed support and wanted to contribute to its success. Originally meetings were held in the member’s homes.
Betty Crocker became the first president, with June Hansen as the first vice president, Jean Lake as treasurer and Mary Lou Wheaton as secretary. Other original members in 1958 were Stella Parsons, Jean Crocker, Barb Davis, Maimie Walker, Hellen Wilcox and Allison Stephens, Kay Fox, Dot Skelhorn, Frances Armstrong, Mabel Hines, Claire Tracy and Gwen McCann.
The Ladies Auxiliary set out immediately to fund raise with their first catering job in November of 1958 raising $25. By January of 1959 they had established a bank account and in that same year they designed a crest and adopted a set of by-laws.
In 1960 the Ladies Auxiliary gave its first donation of $300 to the Fire Department to go towards the cost of tile in the kitchen and meeting room in the new Fire Station.
During those early days the Ladies Auxiliary decided on uniforms of blue dresses with their crest and purchased glasses and cutlery for the kitchen at the new station. They donated dishtowels and dish cloths and generally were taking charge of getting the kitchen operational. On April 24 of 1961 the Ladies held their first meeting in the new Fire station.
In May of 1961 Dr O’Brien, a local doctor, donated plates to the Fire Department and subsequently the Ladies purchased new bowls as well as a stove in 1964. Other purchases over the years included card tables, dishes, cutlery and coffee urns. This was all needed to support their catering initiatives to raise funds for the Fire Department and other worthwhile causes. The Ladies Auxiliary became one of the Towns of Windsor’s top organizations. Assistance was also given to the local Hospital, children’s groups, and to the local school. In September of 1975 the Ladies Auxiliary sponsored a single room at the new HCH hospital. Then President Judy Bennett presented a cheque for $2000 to Karrol Kinsmen , Campaign chair of the HCH Fund. They have sponsored a candidate for Princess Windsor for many years and were sponsors of the Sam Slick Children’s parade.
In 1980 The Auxiliary established a Memorial Bursary Fund of $10000 (and still growing), which provides a $500 bursary to a Windsor Regional now Avon View High School Student who is furthering their studies at a recognised institution!
The primary goal of the Auxiliary was and always has been to support the Fire Department particularly in regards to raising much needed funds. This is done through catering, auctions, bake sales, ticket sales, and at one time, selling home- made goodies from the booth at the exhibition. It has meant years of making trays of squares, cooking roasts and turkeys, preparing vegetables, preparing tables and washing dishes. This has been hard work done by a lot of dedicated women.
In addition to getting the kitchen in the Fire Station operational they have contributed funds for much needed equipment, including portable radios, and helmets.
In March of 1996 the Ladies Auxiliary presented a cheque for $18000 to the Fire Department to assist with the purchase of the new van. Again 4 years later in March of 2000 at our annual banquet the Auxiliary donated another $20000 to the Department.
In recent years they have saved WFD a great deal of money by contributing meals during major fires, at training events and other activities.
It is estimated that in the last 50 years the WFD Auxiliary have raised over $300,000 in support of WFD and other worth wile causes.
Fund raising is not all that goes on in the Auxiliary. They have had many “fun nights’ over the years, including talent nights held with other Auxiliaries both at home and away. They have hosted the Children’s Christmas party every year with lots of presents and a visit by Santa. The Auxiliary have potluck suppers and occasionally even go out for supper together as a group.
The Auxiliary have hosted bowling parties, and dances for the membership where everyone had a great time. Even at catering events there is tremendous camaraderie. It is common to see wives and girlfriends all chit- chatting, working together and carrying on as they go about dishing up meals or pealing vegetables.
In December of 1983 the Auxiliary celebrated their 25th anniversary and again in September of 1988 they celebrated their 30th anniversary. Both occasions were celebrations of the achievements of the group.
Our Auxiliary today has 20 members and is active in fundraising through its own initiatives. They are very much a valued part of this organization.
In September of 2008 the Auxiliary celebrated 50 years of service to the Windsor Fire Department.