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Over a thousand firefighters visit Westfield for convention

August 8, 2013
Westfield Republican
By Dave O’Connor Correspondent WESTFIELD — First, in 1925 and eight times since, the Fire Dept. of Westfield has hosted the annual convention of the Southwestern Association of Volunteer Firemen, including this year’s 105th convention, which concluded Saturday evening. A total of 1,056 firefighters and guests came to the village for at least some of the three and a half day event, according to Marsha Holland, SWAVF vice-president from Chautauqua County. Nineteen Chautauqua County fire companies were represented, according to the SWAVF. There were “Welcome Firemen” signs throughout the village and firemen interviewed were pleased with Westfield’s hospitality. “Couldn’t ask for a better spot,” answered Dick Drew of the Lake Shore Fire Dept. when asked about his company’s quarters at Kevin Seblink’s home on Union St. accross from Welch Field. In turn, Seblink said, “The guys are great. All they’ve done is feed me.” Conventioneers came from all four counties. Allegheny, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Erie were included in the SWAVF member districts.

Forty-six departments, including the host, were on hand. Most overnight visitors stayed in their department’s dugout; there were 31 such camp sites located throughout the village. Some departments shared a dugout: East Aurora, Jamison Rd., Seneca Hose, Wales Center and Woodlawn, all from Erie County, shared quarters at 7609 Bliss St. Friday evening spectators, three and four deep on some blocks, viewed the “Comic Parade” with a “Flintstones” theme move from Cottage St. to Portage St. A second parade called the “Grand Parade” marched from Westfield Academy and Central School down Main to Portage Saturday afternoon. During business sessions conducted both Thursday and Friday in the WACS auditorium, delegates elected Dave Thompson of the Bolivar department president for the 2013-2014 year replacing Westfield Chief Steve Pacanoski who served the past 12 months. Bolivar, in Allegheny County, will host next summer’s convention. “There were some snags, there always are, but working with everybody was great,” Pacanowski commented while visiting the Mayville dugout on Wood St. Friday afternoon. Steve’s dad Jim was the general chairman of this year’s convention.

Article Photos

Photo by Dave O’Connor
Firefighters and guests from the Lake Shore Dept. enjoy themselves Thursday afternoon at their dugout on Union Street in Westfield. Shown, from left, are: Pat Conmy, Jeff Dinan, Dick Drew and Chet Lipka — all life members of Lake Shore.



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