Bowmansville Volunteer Fire Association
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Drum Corps
Auxiliary Patch

The Bowmansville Auxiliary was established October 16th, 1933. The "preface" was and still is "one of appreciation given freely and without measure, devoted to our fire organization and our community."

At the time of its inception, and for many years, the membership was for the wives of our firefighters or daughters, sisters, or mothers within the Bowmansville district. At present time we accept all people with good character to better serve our community.

Vice President
First Year Trustee
Second Year Trustee
Third Year Trustee
Sunshine Lady
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Dyana Jentsch
Cheri Ehrle
Erika Bays
Elaine Cleveland
Linda Trzepacz
Ellen Mormul
Erika Bays
Angie Stewart
Dyana Jentsch
Sue Pap

Auxiliary Members
Auxiliary Members

Linda In The Military
Auxiliary Member Now Home from Afghanistan
Sr. Staff Sergeant Linda Nosbisch

The Bowmansville Volunteer Firemen's Ladies' Auxiliary was organized on the 16th day of October, 1933 through the efforts of Mrs. Norma E. Scrace, Mr. Henry Wehner, President of the Fire Company, acted as chairman and the following officers were duly elected: President - Betty Herbold, Vice President - Anna Zoerb, Secretary - Olive Domras, and Treasurer - Catherine Baker. There were twenty-four Charter Members.

Ladies Aux Original Patch
Ladies Auxiliary Original Patch

The first public project was a combination bingo/card party followed by dancing. It was held on Armistice Day, November 11, 1933. An orchestra was hired for the dancing, but perhaps because they had as yet never heard of the Bowmansville Ladies' Auziliary, they forgot to come to the party. Roast beef sandwiches were on the menu, costing 10 cents, which included a free cup of coffee. The strongest beverage served was sweet cider. However, a good time was had by all and the Auxiliary profit was $35.28. Several afternoon card parties were held and in 1934 a card party and dance was held which netted the Auxiliary $50.62. In March 1934 the Auxiliary proudly presented the Firemen the first donation of $25. That first donation, so proudly presented and so gratefully received, is believed to have given the Auxiliary the lasting belief in their ability to be of service to their Firemen and the community.

More card parties, a pop concert, a strawberry festival, new members joining the ranks every month; Bowmansville Ladies' Auxiliary was really on its way.

In January of 1934 a drill team was organized under the direction of Margaret Harms. Because of the enthusiastic response of drill team members, the beloved Mrs. Matilda (Tillie) Reisch of Williamsville was acquired as permanent drill mistress in April of '34. Several nights a week the girls in the drill team paced briskly up and down, back and forth, round and about in the cremery yard while Tillie "cracked the whip", sometimes not too gently.

Material was purchased and Mrs. Fred Swilling made uniforms for the drill team. During the summer of 1934 our drill team won many prizes for its fine precision marching. In the three years that Mrs. Reisch was with the girls, their fame spread throughout the county and western New York. Their outstanding achievement was taking first prize in competition drill in the years 1934-35-36 at the Erie County Fair in Hamburg.

For several years after the drill team ceased to function, the ladies paraded as an Auxiliary unit in plain white uniforms, with Mrs. Ethel Wichlac as Parade Marshal. At one time the Firemen paraded in white trousers and white shirts with the letters B.V.F.D. in black felt. These letters had to be removed and then sewed on again every time the shirt was laundered, which needless to say was after every parade. The men finally chose dark navy blue trousers to wear with their white shirts. A further change came with the royal blue shirts. By this time the Ladies had accumulated a tidy sum in the treasury and in the summer of 1947 purchased twenty-three uniforms to match the Firemen's outfits. Those were the days when the Bowmansville Fire Department presented a thrilling spectacle, swinging down the line of march with three colorful units; the Firemen in royal blue and navy, the Auxiliary in white with royal blue capes and their clue and white shakos, and the snappy Drum Corps garbed in royal blue shirts with navy trousers and white gaiters. Those were the days when Bowmansville took first prize for the best Drum Corps, the Best Appearing Fire Company, the Best Appearting Ladies' Auxiliary, the Fire Company with the most men in line, and once in a while the prize for the Company coming the longest distance to parade.

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When the dark clouds of World War II cast their shadow over the world many members of the Auxiliary saw husbands, sons, and brothers leave to serve their country. Members of the Auxiliary were busy on the home front, working in defense plants, rolling bandages, donating blood to the Red Cross, working on drives for United War and Community Fund, Red Cross, Salvation Army, stretching Ration Points to keep families healthy and well fed and serving wherever they could when called upon. The Ladies' Auxiliary was the first Firemen's Auxiliary in the country to volunteer in services post World War II. These services include sewing for the Veterans' Hospital in Buffalo and Entertaining at Ward Parties at Veterans' Hospital with games, prizes and refreshments.

In August 1949, the Ladies' Auxiliary Bowling League was organized by President Lorraine Glaser. This league has the unique distinction of being the first woman's league in the world to bowl on the automatic pin setter alleys, which were installed at that time at Hotel Faith in Depew.

In December of 1949, the Ladies' Auxiliary of the Erie County Volunteer Firemen's Association was organized at the Bowmansville Fire Hall. The Ladies' Auxiliary became a member of this association. The Ladies' Auxiliary is also a mbmber of the Ladies' Auxiliary of the Volunteer Firemen's Association of the State of New York.

In the late 1940s, plans were underway to build a new fire hall. The Auxiliary also started a Building and Equipment Fund and in 1949 when ground was broken for the new fire hall, $1500 was donated to the fire company.

Through the years, the Auxiliary held card parties, bingo games, dinners and various fund raising projects which the people of the community partronize whole-heartedly, thereby making the efforts very satisfying and profitable. The citizens of any town are directly responsible for the success of its volunteer organizations.

Picnic 1912
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