Capt. Geoff Freeman and the boys of the ladder truck set the bar high for our first dinner of the new year. Geoff managed to get his hands on a tender pork loin from his father in law at Reliable Market, plus there was Chris Hargy’s homemade chowder and Buck Martin’s dessert selections! Many resolutions were broken in an attempt to sample some of each.

Capt. Mike Carroll of Tisbury joined us for this hearty meal in exchange for sharing a fire video of the ages. You could hear a pin drop in our dining hall as we watched the silent film and listened to Captain Carroll and our own retired Capt. Dick Kelly recount the events of the 1964 fire in Oak Bluffs that took the Ocean View Hotel to the ground. Both men remarked on how cold it was that January evening, with many firefighters working straight through the night for nearly six hours, until 5 a.m. Captain Carroll remembers seeing the balls of fire race through the lobby as if they were on wheels, while Captain Kelly shared stories about cutting a hole in the ice and drafting from the harbor. If you were lucky enough to have a coat, it was frozen solid, standing straight up when it was taken off! Special thanks to Captain Carroll for sharing this with us.

With the New Year comes a new face at the head table. After careful consideration, Scott Ellis has decided to step down as treasurer of the association. Scott received a well deserved round of applause for his 12 years of dedicated service. To keep our finances on track, the head table appointed Lisa Lawson to fill the position until it is up for re-election next year. In addition to being an active member on the ambulance squad, Lisa has experience with business administration and has demonstrated impeccable book-keeping skills. We are grateful to her for agreeing to take on this life-size responsibility.

At our last gathering of 2008, after a very hearty meal prepared by the boys of Engine Four, president Kelly started our special meeting by reviewing and amending the bylaws with the members of the association. After a quick discussion, the motions were made and passed with little debate. Special birthday wishes go out to Deputy Chief Schaeffer, who was surprised with a cake full of candles! More well wishes for Frank Williams, Jr. who turned 18 this past month. Frank will be turning in his red junior turnout gear for more traditional gear.

Vice president Kara Shemeth thanked the association, on behalf of the Emergency Medical Technicians, for the generous donation made to acquire new jackets for active members of the squad. These jackets will help keep our EMTs warm, safe and protected when called into action any time of the day or night. Secretary Geoff Freeman read our correspondence which included a lovely thank you note from Ursula Prada, remarking on the support shown by the association during her recent illness.

Captain Dick Kelly would like to thank everyone who helped with the stockings this holiday season. Each year, stockings are filled with nuts, candy and fruit and distributed to the elderly members of our community. This year the stockings were delivered in the rain but surely brightened up the day for many. A discussion was held regarding the items placed into the stockings, and we are looking for any recommendations to help us make better, healthier selections for next year.

The Association would like to welcome new members Kyle Carter, who will be joining Capt. Gundersen on Engine Four; Taylor Epps, who joins Engine One as our youngest member; and Walter Streeter, who joins the ladder truck yet proves to be a valuable addition to our dive team as well. The association also would like to welcome our new administrative assistant, Jen O’Hanlon, who has been a nice addition to the front office.

Capt. Peter Wells and the boys of the Chappy station delivered a fruit basket to our friend, neighbor and fellow firefighter Dan Geary of Chappaquiddick. Dan recently suffered a fall from a ladder, and the members of the association wish him a speedy recovery. Dan and his wife, Versie, were pleasantly surprised to see the fire truck pull up and they mentioned how nice it is to live in such a compassionate community.

Peter Look announced that he will be migrating south for the winter, and then some. Peter has accepted a position teaching English as a second language at a school in Brazil. After a one-year commitment, Peter plans to return to the Vineyard. Lieut. Andrew Kelly said that there will always be a spot for him on Engine One. Safe travels Peter, and boa sorte!

Congratulations go out to newly engaged lovebirds Mike Brown and Lindsay Lamana. Best wishes!

The Association would like to get as many folks as possible to join the Edgartown Police Department for a special night out on the town at The Wharf, Friday, Feb. 6. Tickets are $50 per person and all proceeds from this benefit will support Officer Will Oteri. Hope to see you there!

We are looking forward to having Sr. Capt. Charlie Smith and the boys of the rescue truck heat up the kitchen next month!

Just a reminder to everyone to come on down anytime to get your blood pressure taken. Remember, as an unknown author once said, hug a firefighter and feel warm all over.