History of the Ladies Auxiliary in and for the Indian River Volunteer Fire Co., Inc.
In 1954, various residents of the Oak Orchard-Long Neck communities decided to organize and establish a Ladies Auxiliary Unit in and for the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company. Their first official meeting was held on the January 7, 1954 at the home of Evelyn Morris. The potential members of the Ladies Auxiliary acquired BY-LAWS of the other auxiliaries and the county for reviewed and usage as guidelines to create Indian River’s BY-LAWS for their own auxiliary unit. These BY-LAWS of the Ladies Auxiliary organization were adopted at that time.
Elections of officers were held and Indian River’s first officers were President: Emily Colebourn; Vice President: Daisey Pride; Secretary: Ivah Hastings; Assistant Secretary: Grace Tate; Treasurer: Louise Wilkins; and Assistant Treasurer: Angela Birl. These newly elected officers were installed by the Ladies Auxiliary State Association President Mary Uhler on January 26, 1954 at the Spears Store located in Oak Orchard, Delaware.
The Ladies Auxiliary Charter membership enrollment was closed on April 8, 1954 with fifty-three (53) members being accepted to the original charter. These Charter Members include:
Virginia Adams; Angela Birl; Alice Burton; Magaret Burton;
Amelia P. Carmine; Margaret Cathel; Emily Coulbourn; Alice Coverdale; Edna P. Murray; Kathleen Duffel; Vivian Ellingsworth; Florence Gillespie; Marie Green; Ivah Hastings; Ann Hill; Victoria C. Hulse; Rebecca Layfield; Julia Lingo; Alice McCauley; Ann Messick; Esther P. Mitchell; Evelyn Morris; Mary Moore; Thelma Newhouse;
Agnes Oettel Fritz; Ellen P. Chinn; Ola Pianka; Daisey Pride; Mary Pruitt; Anamae Rogers; Ellen Rogers; Jennie Mae Rogers; Anna Ryan; Pauline Seargent; Ruth Seargant; Elise Short; Elva Short; Agnes Sherlock; Imogene Showell; Linda Showell; Jean Shugard; Mildred Shugart; Ida Spears; Mary Skinner; Grace Tate; Ann Touchton; Marion B. Trice; Addie Wainwright; Tommeyetta Walls; Mettie Warrington; Mammie Weindling; Etta Whitledge; and Louise Wilkins.
The Auxiliary meetings were scheduled and held the second Wednesday of each month in the homes of various members until May, 1954 at which time the Ladies held their first meeting at the new fire house in Oak Orchard.
Dedication of the original fire house was held on May 22, 1954. The Ladies Auxiliary assisted the firefighters with this affair.
The Ladies Auxiliary first fundraising project was held in March, 1954. It was a chicken, dumpling & oyster dinner held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Hall in Millsboro, Delaware.
Over the next 25 years (1954-1979), the Ladies Auxiliary tried many initiatives to raise funds such as selling air fresheners, shampoo, stainless steel cutlery, cards, handbags and vanilla. The Ladies also held bake sales, food sales, dinners, dances, ice cream festivals and did the BINGO Concession every Friday night at the BINGO events. Some of fundraising efforts were very successful and some were not.
As the next 25 years (1979-2004) proceeded, the Ladies Auxiliary began to experience many changes. The weekly BINGO events held on Friday evenings were discontinued. The Ladies Auxiliary started a very successful Easter Candy project that would last for 13 years. One of our most successful projects, still continues today, is the monthly breakfast events hosted from Mother’s Day in May thru September of every year. The breakfast events are still held on Sunday mornings during the designated months and have been expanded offerings that include the months of April thru October. The Ladies Auxiliary has also performed catering, item raffles, and started an annual Longaberger Basket BINGO. These basket BINGO events have also been expanded to include Vera Bradley bag BINGO and are held multiple times throughout the year.
The fire house has been expanded in many ways. The Main Station was expanded to include a meeting room, bathrooms and a much need pantry space for the Ladies Auxiliary. In 2002-2003, more renovations included an addition to fire house, additional firefighting equipment and the old engine bays were renovated into a much awaited social hall.
The Ladies Auxiliary allocated their funds that were obtained over the years to procure needed equipment and supplies for the firefighters. A significant contribution was provided by the Ladies Auxiliary to acquire a transport vehicle for fire company personnel to company activities as well as state and county events.
Additional acquisitions included the kitchen equipment upgrades, tables and chairs for the social hall, and assisted financially with the social hall renovations.
Throughout the previous 50 years (1954-2004), the Ladies Auxiliary has constantly supported the fire company endeavors by hosting fundraising; hosting and catering many company, county and state events where Indian River provided refreshments and coverage for food preparation.
Indian River Ladies Auxiliary has also been available to prepare food for special projects, alarms and emergency situations such as storms, funeral details and other fire related disasters.
In 2004, the current Ladies Auxiliary membership consisted of eighteen (18) active members and seventeen (17) life members. One of our current life members, Anamae Rogers is also a Charter Member. There are also some life members of the Ladies Auxiliary that have uninterrupted service that dates back to 1967.
The next major facility renovations in 2007 included complete kitchen & bathroom renovations, electrical upgrades and resulted in a state of the art kitchen facility that housed a cafeteria style food serving line with cold and hold serving areas, multiple refrigerator and freezer locations, modern plumbing, centralized water and sewer connections and could accommodate approximately 250 persons per event. The breakfast events were able to accommodate more than 300 persons per breakfast and the Ladies expanded to include regularly scheduled chicken & dumpling dinners.
It is our pleasure to identify and acknowledge the Past Presidents of the Ladies Auxiliary in and for the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company:
1954 Emily Coulbourn
1955 Emily Coulbourn
1956 Angela Birl
1957 Angela Birl
1958 Margaret Bowden
1959 Emily Coulbourn
1960 Emily Coulbourn
1961 Margaret Bowden
1962 Emily Coulbourn
1963 Emily Coulbourn
1964 Mabel Sharp
1965 Mabel Sharp – (January 1965 thru September, 1965)
1965 Anna Casey – (October, 1965 – December, 1965)
1966 Anna Casey
1967 Anna Casey
1968 Flossie Ulrich
1969 Flossie Ulrich
1970 Betty Calhoun – (January 1970 – September, 1970)
1970 Alberta Favinger – (October, 1970 – June, 1971)
1971 Elizabeth Ann Hall – (July, 1971 thru December, 1971)
1972 Elizabeth Ann Hall
1973 Elizabeth Ann Hall
1974 Linda J. Walls
1975 Linda J. Walls
1976 Lorriane Hightower
1977 Lorraine Hightower
1978 Alice Edwards
1979 Alice Edwards
1980 Louise Mitchell
1981 Louise Mitchell
1982 Elizabeth Ann Hall
1983 Elizabeth Ann Hall
1984 Louise Mitchell
1985 Louise Mitchell
1986 N. Jean Moore
1987 N. Jean Moore
1988 Louise Mitchell
1989 Louise Mitchell
1990 Louise Mitchell
1991 Louise Mitchell
1992 N. Jean Moore
1992 N. Jean Moore
1993 N. Jean Moore
1994 N. Jean Moore
1995 N. Jean Moore
1996 N. Jean Moore
1997 Linda Fox
1998 Linda Fox
1999 Linda Fox
2000 Linda Fox Cullen
2001 Linda Cullen
2002 Linda Cullen
2003 Linda Cullen
2004 Linda Cullen
2005 Linda Cullen
2006 Dixie J. Hawkins
2007 Dixie J. Hawkins
2008 Dixie J. Hawkins
2009 Linda Cullen
2010 Linda Cullen
2011 Linda Cullen
2012 Linda Cullen
In 1969, Emily Colebourn would ultimately get elected to pursue the leadership chairs within the Ladies Auxiliary of the Sussex County and the State of Delaware levels via the Delaware Volunteer Firemen’s Association. Additional information regarding Emily Colebourn's Ladies Auxiliary Presidential tenure may be obtained by viewing the following websites:
During the history of the Ladies Auxiliary, it is clearly notable to recognize Linda Fox Cullen as the longest serving President of the Ladies Auxiliary organization with thirteen (13) terms of office. Other periods of longevity for the Presidency are: N. Jean Moore with eight (8) terms of office; Emily Coulbourn and Louise Mitchell each with six (6) terms of office; and Elizabeth Ann Hall with five (5) terms of office.
In 2010, the Ladies Auxiliary adopted a Junior Membership program intended to encourage young ladies to join their organization and foster the spirit of volunteerism to continue within this organization.
The Indian River Volunteer Fire Company would like to acknowledge and thank the Ladies Auxiliary for their endless pursuit of community volunteerism and helping this organization prosper into the viable corporate entity it is recognized for.