Ocean City Today

Volunteer fire company transforms boardroom

Fire headquarters on 15th St. adds space for OCVFC memorabilia, resort artwork
By Katie Tabeling | Jun 22, 2017
Photo by: Katie Tabeling The Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company recently finished renovations to its board room in the 15th Street Fire Headquarters. Highlights of the room include two signs that display the OCVFC and OCFD patch, so the board is reminded who oversees their work.

(June 23, 2017) The Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company has taken one corner of the newly renovated 15th Street Fire Headquarters to create a new boardroom, after operating for years without a dedicated meeting space.

In addition to serving as a place where the OCVFC Board of Directors meet and interview new applicants, the room holds artwork depicting the resort’s past and present as well as other artifacts from the fire company’s history.

“This was my vision, but I had a lot of assistance. This whole project has been a dream come true for me,” said volunteer Fire Chief Jay Jester. “I wanted to make sure that anyone who comes in here, from citizen, applicant or donor, knows that we’ll never forget who we serve.”

One wall has artistic photographs of the white marlin and the Ocean City jetty,  the latter taken by Robert Banach, printed on large canvases. Hung on the opposite wall are five photographs of Ocean City throughout the decades, starting in 1898.

Two photographs, both detailing the 1933 storm that created the inlet, were from the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia.

“I never saw these photos before, until I started looking for art,” Jester said, pointing at one image that was taken days after the storm.

“Looking at the detail, it had to be military since that technology wasn’t available to civilians yet.”

The series of photographs ends with a shot of Ocean City in 2015, showcasing how far the resort has come.

“The fire company was founded in 1905, and we’ve been here through all these changes,” Jester said.

To further honor the fire company’s history, select pieces of fire memorabilia are displayed in the room. The case contains several fire hose nozzles that were fitted to a 1961 American LaFrance fire engine.

Jester donated to the collection his personal fire alarm pull box, which was the prototype for the fire alarm. Once the lever was pulled, the box would send a telegraph of its location to the firefighters.

“We never had these in Ocean City, but it shows why we call areas in town ‘boxes,’” he said.

Also displayed is several meeting log books and membership rolls from the company. Each page is turned to entries of three Ocean City firefighters who died in the line of duty: Chief Ralph Dennis, who died on July 20, 1937, firefighter Jeffrey L. Dieter, July 16, 1983 and Gold Badge volunteer member Leroy J. Cropper Jr., April 28, 1995.

“I didn’t think the boardroom was an appropriate place for a memorial, but I wanted those who died in the line of duty to be a part of this in spirit,” Jester said.

Rounding out the room, the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company patch and the Ocean City Fire Department patch are hanging on the far wall, behind the head of the board’s table.

Both patches are the size of small signs, and made of plastic by Ad Art Designs.

The OCVFC and OCFD logos are positioned so when a volunteer candidate sits across from the board president and vice president, he or she is reminded of whom they will serve.

“It’s a way to show that the board and the volunteers are overseen by these two departments,” Jester said.

“This room encompasses what our mission is. We will never forget the people who came before us, our history, and who we serve,” he continued.

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