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A Special Thanksgiving
Written by Larry Roeder, Editor
2019-12-27

            Years go by and sometimes we forget; or sometimes we never knew.

            Newspapers recorded happenings of the past and represent "hard-copy"

On November 25, 1949, members of the Green Lane Fire Company

presented the borough with a memorial listing the names of more than

100 service members who served in World War I and World War II.

documentation of events – something that can only be corrected in hard-copy and not edited online to hide the deed or change the story.

            Sometimes paging through old issues brings a smile to the readers face and a fond remembrance or a new discovery of the good that people can do.

            It was Nov. 26. 1949, just two days after Thanksgiving 70 years ago, when the volunteers of the Green Lane Fire Company presented to one of the smallest boroughs in Montgomery County a new, permanent memorial.  The granite stones carry the names of more than 100 veterans of World War I and World War II from the area served by the fire company at the time.

            More than 500 people braved the extremely cold weather to watch Carrie Wonsidler and Mattie Wenhold, members of the Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary,

While in the midst of raising funds for a new firehouse,

volunteers of the Green Lane Fire Company kept their

commitment to erecting a veteran's memorial at Isaac

Smith Park in the borough as well as handing out $100

checks to veterans and their families.

unveil the monument.  Not a bad turnout considering Green Lane had a population of a little over 500 at the time. 

            Rev. Leo J. Letterhouse, then rector of the Visitation Catholic Church in Green Lane and St. Philip Neri Church in East Greenville delivered the main address.

            Green Lane Burgess Harry E. Imbody delivered the acceptance speech on behalf of the borough.

            The East Greenville High School Band provided music for the event.

            But that wasn't all the members of the fire company did for the veterans and their families that day.  The also handed out $100 each, to more than 130 veterans as well.  That's about $1,100 in today's value.

            The fire company's "bonus payments" were being paid from a special fund set up during World War II.  It was originally intended to be used for the rehabilitation of returning servicemen. 

            The fund continued intact until it was decided that it was not needed for that purpose.  Instead of using it to provide their own vital services, (the company was in the process of building a new firehouse at the time) the members voted to provide the monies as a bonus to the veterans.

            They did just that, handing out the money right after the dedication ceremony.  They continued on their quest for a new firehouse, completing that project slightly over a year later when they dedicated the new firehouse on Jan. 20, 1951. It was built at a cost of $100,000.

            It was fitting that the veteran's memorial was permanently placed in Isaac Smith Park.  It was Smith who donated the land for the park to both the borough and the fire company.  Smith was also one of the founding fathers of the volunteer fire company.

            Of the fire company's gift of the veteran's memorial to the borough, an editorial appearing in the Town and Country on Dec. 2, 1949 read: "A fine gesture in community spirit on the part of the Green Lane Fire Company in erecting a memorial to the town's former service men, then turning it over to the borough!  That it is well appreciated was shown by the general enthusiasm in last Saturday's event."

            It was a special Thanksgiving season for Green Lane in 1949.


 

 

 

 

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