Judge issues proclamation recognizing restored fire truck
From Staff Reports

Members of the Sulphur Springs High School Class of 1943 stand by the restored fire truck following ceremonies on the downtown square this morning. The class members raised thousands of dollars and were instrumental in the restoration of the truck, which was built in 1929.
Staff Photo By Faith Huffman

Oct. 1, 2006 - A Hopkins County proclamation recognizing the recently-restored 1929 Southern Fire Truck was read this Saturday morning in ceremonies on the courthouse square.

The ladder truck was one of only five built by the Southern Fire Truck Company in Dallas and served the city of  Sulphur Springs for many years. The truck was restored by Max Bradford, with help from Sulphur  Springs High School class of 1943 and many others. The truck will be on permanent display in Heritage Park after a station to house it is built. Until then it will be housed by Charles Moore.

"When Max finished the wooden steering wheel, he brought it to me and said I would be the first to touch it. That mean so much to me," said Annie Lou Dickerson, whose husband Ben was the first fire chief to use the truck here.

Annie Lou Dickerson and her son Jack, also present, gave a shadow box containing Ben Dickerson's fire badges and other mementos from his years of service with the fire department to Hopkins County Historical Society. Joyce Bateman, HCHS president, noted the remembrance to the former fire chief "will proudly hang in our fire station" once the new one is built.

Joe France was cited for encouraging the Class of ’43 to help raise funds to restore the truck, which intitially was thought to have been constructed the year they were born, but which the class later learned was actually built in 1929 instead of 1926.

Gale Beshears was recognized for writing a $6,000 check to match the $9,000 already collected for the restoration project, upon viewing the truck and learning of the need. The project, which began in April and was recently completed, cost less than anticipated, so the remaining funds have been realloctated for the station.

The VFW ladies Auxiliary was also thanked for contributing the first $1,000  to help HCHS get started raising funds for the new fire station to house the Hopkins County Heritage Park's historic fire truck.

HCHS also extended special thanks to the city for donating the truck to them when they retired it from service in May of 1981.

Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap issued the proclamation recognizing those who worked together to restore the piece of history.

“This will be a great moment in history in Hopkins County, for future generations to observe and relish the dedication, commitment, and willingness of those of the past and those of today,” the proclamation reads. “As future generations look back, they will know that all of us cared about their history and provided them with a grand old view of the past ... 

“Whereas just as those whose hands built this truck with pride, we take pride from them and now are sharing this pride with generations to come.  Today, we are proud of all who have played a role in restoring this ladder truck and everyone is very thankful for your service to seeing history preserved, and;

“Now, therefore be it resolved, that I say to all in presence here today and to all in our future, it’s great to be a citizen of Hopkins County.”

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