Dan Fisher Sr. and John Smucker are spearheading an effort to replace the missing Keystone Marker at the west end of town. The tradition of using the blue and gold keystone to mark the entrance to towns, rivers, and trails is unique to Pennsylvania. They are called “gateway guardians” and are considered a remarkable treasure in our state.
The goal is to raise the required $1,000 to replace the marker. Please send your contributions to Keystone Marker Trust, c/o Bird-in-Hand Corporation, 2727 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand, PA 17505. Checks should be made out to Keystone Marker Trust. Thank you for your help!
For the past two years Doug Glick and Daniel J. Fisher have been working together on the Tanker Committee. Even though their families live less than a mile apart, the Fire Company had been their main connection…until December 31, 2013. That day Daniel J. donated a kidney to Doug and Diane’s 13-yearold daughter, Denise, as the families sat together at Hershey Medical Center.
The journey for Denise began in October 2012 with the discovery that her kidneys had lost 30 percent function. Four months later that had increased to 70 percent loss and by May 2013 the Glick family began the search for a kidney donor.
Daniel J.’s father and another friend who were kidney donors were his inspiration and with his wife Marilyn’s support, he privately began the rigorous testing at Hershey. At the end of November he surprised Doug and Diane with the news that he was a match for Denise and was willing to be a donor.
We live in a very special community full of many heartwarming stories. Daniel J. tells his story so that this heritage of caring will be passed on to our children and Denise sees it as an opportunity to raise awareness of the need for kidney and organ donors. Doug says, “The Fire Company members have been very supportive. They are a real blessing to us.”
Bird-in-Hand Fire Company’s first-due response area is centered along Route 340, extending from the Eastbrook Road area on the west to North Harvest Road in Leacock Township on the east. This area is called first due, which simply means that Bird-in-Hand fire trucks are the first to be dispatched. Neighboring companies often assist us; Ronks, Witmer, and Lafayette on the west, and Ronks, Intercourse, and Gordonville on the east. These assisting fire companies are called mutual aid and are dispatched to support Bird-in-Hand volunteers whenever there is a major emergency. There is a common thread in this description of Bird-in-Hand Fire Company’s response area. It is the principle of helping. Neighboring fire companies help us and Bird-in- Hand helps them in the same way. The reason all this mutual aid happens is…. to help our neighbors.
The Fire Company marked two unusual milestones at the Thanksgiving Banquet on November 20, 2013 by giving Dan Fisher Sr. his 50-year award and his son Daniel J. a 25-year award. They come from a family who enjoys serving. Dan Sr. says, “Looking back, I did it to help the community. That was what we were taught to do.”
As a child Dan Sr. took turns with his brothers going to fire meetings with his father Levi “Dutch” Fisher. In 1963 at the age of 17 he joined the firefighting ranks and since has filled most positions in the Fire Company, everything except Chief, President, and treasurer.
Two highlights have been serving on the Facilities Committee for the 2008 building addition and as general contractor along with Metzler Builders for the fundraising house. Presently Dan Sr. is a trustee.
Daniel J. followed his father’s footsteps and as a child walked to the fire hall with his dad for meetings. When he was 14 he became a Junior Fireman and two years later was on the House and Grounds Committee. Over the years he has advanced to lieutenant, captain, co-chair of the present Tanker Committee, and is currently on the Board.
The Fisher family is already working at filling their boots. Daniel J.’s children go along to fire meetings and gladly help with the dinners and the Half Marathon. Daniel J. comments, “We love the spirit of this community where we learn to share responsibilities and people do their part.”
Rains fell, winds blew, and tents collapsed. Everyone in the Birdin- Hand area will long remember the challenging week for our Lancaster County Carriage and Antique Auction, June 24-28, 2013. But the very best memories are of an incredible spirit that rose up out of our community as the weather swirled relentlessly and crisis after crisis demanded that we work together to save our auction.
In spite of having to prepare for the sale in drenching rain and destructive winds, Organizer Jake King summarized the 2013 auction this way. “The community effort was awesome. Even though the profits were down because of extra expenses, the event was still successful. The success came in the way the community people pulled together to do whatever it took to solve the problems caused by the weather. Attitudes were great – no complaints or long faces. The weather brought out the good, better, and best in people.”
First ever Dutch Oven meal on Thursday evening sold out in spite of having to rearrange serving lines, change cooking times and locations, and eat at tables with pools of water at everyone’s feet.
The Better… Friday, the day of the sale, dawned sunny and beautiful. A record number of 5,000 attendees, including 1,525 bidders, carefully walked over sawdust-covered mud on the auction grounds and enjoyed buying, eating, and fellowshipping.
The Best… Countless community people stepped up to do whatever was necessary, even setting up a 100′ x 160′ replacement tent in the middle of the night. And donors, such as the Robert J. Gunterberg Charitable Foundation, came forward with contributions to help cover the extra expenses. We, the Bird-in-Hand Fire Company, are very grateful for a supportive community and thank each of you for standing with us during the 2013 auction week.
Five firefighters from Bird-in-Hand joined a group of three other local men to volunteer with the West Hancock Fire Rescue in Pearlington, Mississippi, this summer. Lyndon Beiler, Amos Lee Fisher, Raymond Petersheim, Ivan Stoltzfus, and Melvin B. Stoltzfus spent 12 days relieving the regular volunteer firefighters in this community on the Gulf of Mexico that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
After Katrina’s destruction many volunteer firefighters quit to help with the rebuilding or moved out of the area. That has left a small core of active firefighters whose primary coverage area is spread out over 75 square miles and includes 13 miles of Interstate-10 and the I-10 Pearl River Bridge. With an average of three calls per day (1,000 a year), they need help from fellow firefighters.
For 25-30 weeks out of the year, firefighters from many different states drive to the Deep South to give the West Hancock Fire Rescue members a break. On July 8-20 the young men from Bird-in-Hand took their turn in this heartwarming mission. They cooked meals in the kitchen, slept in the station bunkhouse, and responded to 16 calls. Fourteen of those were vehicle accidents, one was a trailer fire and one was an elevator rescue. This is typical because 90% of the West Hancock calls are accidents due to I-10.
Ivan Stoltzfus summed up his experience, “They are happy for anyone’s help. Down there you do what you need to do. They do not nitpick. It was a lot of fun to go down south, but when we got home, we were thankful for all the things we have at our station.”
The Fire Company has been named the beneficiary in the will of Albert Boreman, a longtime resident of Smoketown. Al became ill last October and passed away on December 23, 2011 at age 76. Orphaned at age four, his life was hard and full of many challenges. As a young man he did roadwork when the Route 30 bypass was built around Lancaster City and became acquainted with area residents.
To be near his friends, Al made Smoketown his home. The local community rallied around him throughout his life. Families like Gordie Fritz and Jake and Ruth Bare periodically gave him lodging and employment on their farms. Al spent many years working at Nolt’s Mill, where Jim Nolt made sure that he had money in the bank for retirement.
Al was a hard worker and a goodnatured man in spite of some rough edges. He enjoyed hunting with the local men and had many friends. In retirement he liked driving around in his car in a ten-mile radius of Smoketown, sometimes putting 25,000 miles on in a year’s time. He was so regular in this routine, people could set their clocks by when his car went past.
A memorial service was held for Al at the Fire Hall on January 18, 2012 with Henry K. Fisher officiating and attended by 75 friends. Afterwards his belongings were auctioned off and the proceeds given to the Fire Company as stated in his will. His gift was a meaningful gesture of giving back to a caring community who had been like family to him.
On September 7 Tropical Storm Lee dumped 15 inches of rain on Elizabethtown. There was so much water that their local fire company could no longer handle all of the calls. The Hand-in-Hand Fire Company assisted in pumping out homes during the evening.
Then at 2 a.m. on September 8 a call for help with nighttime water rescues came from Manheim, which was dealing with swollen creeks. Hand-in-Hand firefighters who had water rescue training were sent to answer that call. Driving through two feet of water on Main Street, the squad rescued stranded people off of their front porches. Other fire companies with boats worked the streets that had water five feet deep. From 5-7 am Manheim was completely surrounded by water and all roads were closed.
The Hand-in-Hand firefighters stayed into the afternoon of the next day to pump out homes in Manheim and East Petersburg. In one neighborhood firefighters stood beside residents as they watched pumped-out basements fill up with water again. The hours were long and the work exhausting. As one firefighter testified, “We just did it. We just kept right on going.” Several from Bird-in-Hand only had five hours of sleep in a 40-hour block of time. At the end of three days the Fire Company had given 284 manhours to the flood effort.
Thankfully in the Bird-in-Hand vicinity there were only several closed roads in low-lying areas. As rain continued to fall, the creeks receded and then rose again. Some of the roads had to be closed twice.