History of the Auxilliary

  • The Auxiliary of Westbrook Chemical Engine Company No. 1

  • The Ladies Auxiliary was organized on January 3, 1951 when Evelyn Palm was elected its first president. Ms. Palm remained in this position for 10 years. The following year the Auxiliary held its first banquet on May 12, which has become an annual affair and is often shared with surrounding towns.

    In 1952, the members of the Auxiliary participated in Westbrook Chemical Engine Company’s first variety show. The Company purchased their premiere emergency truck in 1954, and the Auxiliary helped equip it with pillowcases, sheets, wool blankets, a fireproof blanket, foam pillows, tow stretchers, a first aid kit, and a thermos jug. Since then, an electric blanket was added, and the Company’s kitchen has been replenished a number of times with pots and pans, towels, and coffee pots.

    In the past, members of the Auxiliary have made drapes for both the Boy Scouts and Middlesex Memorial Hospital, and sponsored a swim program for the YMCA. The Auxiliary has also rolled bandages for Middlesex Memorial Hospital, and knitted afghans and lap robes for residents of a nearby convalescent home. In years gone by money has been donated towards the purchase of a dental chair for a local elementary school, the Red Cross, Fireworks Fund, and Halloween Fund. In 1984, the Auxiliary purchased dozens of red napkins and tablecloths which continue to be used at the Firemen’s Annual Banquet. Since 1993 the Auxiliary has been preparing the meal at the Banquet in addition to serving it, as in the past.

    In June of 1990, the Auxiliary decided to open membership to individuals not related to a firefighter, via an application process, and through that process the Auxiliary has gained some of its most active members to date. The first male member Matt Canova, joined the Auxiliary in 1993. Matt had been a firefighter for over a year and determined that he wanted to be a part of the Auxiliary as well. Matt was followed by Dave Mauldin 7 months later. Both have proven to be assets to the organization. When Julia Spencer, a long-time dedicated member of the Auxiliary, died in 1992 the organization started “Julia’s Cupboard”, a fund for replacing kitchen equipment at the firehouse. On May 6, 1993 the Auxiliary became proud of another of its outstanding members, Dora Green, for being named the Chairman of the Fire Commissioners.

    On April 24, 1994 the Ladies Auxiliary hosted the semi-annual statewide Ladies Auxiliary meeting in which approximately 20 Auxiliaries attended. Westbrook cooked a pasta dinner, invited Paul Casey to speak about the Stuart B. McKinney Wildlife Sanctuary and the event was a success.

    Today, the duties of the Auxiliary continue to be primarily assisting the firemen of Westbrook by responding to the firehouse during all calls that keep the volunteers out for extended periods of time. During these times the Auxiliary members prepare sandwiches, hot or cold drinks, and deliver them to emergency scenes. Members are also available to make meals for firefighters and their families.

    The Auxiliary aids with firehouse banquets, social evenings, and addressing envelopes when necessary. The Ladies Auxiliary of Westbrook has been a supportive, devoted organization for almost 60 years and will continue to serve the community and Westbrook Chemical Engine Company No. 1 in the future.