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In late 1937 the possibility of forming a Ladies Auxiliary was discussed by the firemen’s wives. In January of 1938 the women asked permission to use the fire hall for a meeting.

On February 24, 1938, the first meeting of the Ladies Auxiliary was held with 29 members present. Elected at this meeting as the first Officers of the Auxiliary were:

President …………………………..Mildred Seeriter
Vice-President……………………..Isabelle Herrmann
Secretary……………………………Dorothy Doll
Treasurer……………………………Anna Strasser
Sgt. at Arms…………………………Gladys Merner
Chairman – House Committeee….Grace Miller

In addition, a few months later; Florence Filsinger, Harriett Hunter and Mayme Williams were added as Directors.

At the meeting in March, 1938, the name of the organization was voted upon. The Ladies Auxliary of the Lake Shore Voluntary Fire Co., Inc. was approved.

The purpose of the organization was understood. To help the Fire company in any way possible and to assist the Community whenever possible. A need for funds was realized and at this meeting they decided to have their first fundraiser, a card party. Card parties and dances were regular fundraisers for the Auxiliary for many years. In addition, they agreed to assist the firemen with the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day party. They also quickly got on board with another Fire Co. fundraiser, the Field Days. Field Days and carnivals were held by many of the Fire Co.s/Depts. In the County and were major fundraisers for all of them. The Field Days and Community Days have been the major fundraiser for the Ladies Auxiliary since 1938. Other fundraisers have included, fish dinners, spaghetti dinners, flea markets, white elephant sales, fashion shows, blanket sales, and baked goods sales (many on Election Day).

Meetings of the Auxiliary have been held on the second and fourth Fridays opposite the Fire Company since the start of the Auxiliary. Although there have been proposals to change the meeting night, none seem to have seem to stuck for any length of time. On meeting nights, a variety of activities have taken place after the meetings. Bingo parties, wedding & baby showers for members, birthday parties, crafts, demonstrator parties, spelling bees and even ping pong in the “Old Firehall”. The activities after the meeting still take place. In the 40’s & 50’s first aid classes and instructions on Civil Defense were held. Lunches were held after the meetings and in 1946 the donation was raised from .25 to .35 cents.

The Auxiliary has donated many times to the Fire Company to help make it better. Although many have been made to improve the kitchen and catering equipment, many dollars have been donated for Firematic and first Aid equipment. A card party in 1939 netted $80.50 towards the purchase of helmets and “raincoats”. In the early years, a firemen had to be one of the first to the firehall to get any protective equipment, even if it was only a “raincoat”. The Auxiliary furnished equipment for the kitchen in the new Firehall in 1949. This included a new range, refrigerator, steam table, stainless hood and dishes. Not long after that, 100 folding chairs and 10 folding tables were donated by the Ladies.

Donations included a siren for the First Aid Truck in 1939 and two of the first “gas masks” put in service.
More recently they have donated PASS alarms to assist in locating downed firefighters and donated towards the purchase of thermal imaging cameras. They have donated smoke ejectors, co detectors, coolers for rehab and a VCR and LCD projector for training. The Auxiliary has also donated towards the proposed memorial grounds and purchased the mirror in the Clubroom. The donations over the years easily exceed $50,000.

In 1939 the Ladies had a first aid team that competed and even marched at the Erie County Fair that year. With this came the interest to form a drill team to compete in parades. Although it came up several times over the years, nothing really happened until 1950. A drill team was approved and the Ladies marched at the Erie County Fair and took first place. They had white blouses with emblem, blue skirts and hats trimmed in gold to match the Firemen’s uniforms and white shoes. They continued to march until 1955 when a new major project was tackled. The idea of a Junior Auxiliary had been discussed since the early 50’s but no real purpose was found. Then it was agreed to form a Junior Drum Corps. to provide music for the Firemen.

The Ladies discontinued marching to devote their attention to the new Drum Corps. They not only formed a Committee to oversee the operation of the corps, but provided chaperones, made uniforms and even helped raise funds. This was a major project for the Ladies for over twenty years. The Lake Shorettes were the pride of the Auxiliary and Fire Company. Sadly, the Auxiliary found that they no longer had the drive or membership to take-on the duties and turned over leadership to the Fire Company. The Fire Co. took over for a short time and faced with declining interest, the corps disbanded in 1980. Many Corps had already left the streets and a twenty-five year run was non-typical for any corps. In 1960 the uniforms were replaced and the old ones were donated to a boys corps in Sierra Leone, Africa. The Ladies returned to marching in the 80’s with new brilliant uniforms, but have been inactive as far as marching is concerned in recent years.

Some of the more noteworthy projects taken on by the Auxiliary included sending packages to our firemen who were serving in World War II and sending cards to those in the Vietnam conflict and even sent packages during the war in Iraq in 2003. They even hosted soldiers for the USO during WW II. They have made donations to the Burn Treatment Center and are Charter members of the Firemen’s Memorial Exhibit center of WNY. They have adopted a needy family for Christmas in recent years.

During World War II, “God Bless America” was sang at the opening of each Auxiliary meeting. Those years were hard for all and rationing even threatened their meetings, until ration stamps were approved for coffee and sugar by the local board. The Auxiliary even purchased war bonds to support our nation.

Although the Auxiliary has been strong for many years, including having a membership of over 105 members in 1939, there were times that lack of interest or members effected the organization. In the early 50’s there was even discussion of disbanding.

The Ladies have always promoted a family atmosphere and have encouraged socializing. They have hosted card, bowling, and Halloween parties. In addition they have hosted boat cruises, Octoberfests, dances, St. Pat’s Dinners and trips to the zoo. In the early years they even had a “piggybank party”, where members made a donation at each meeting attended and those who attended at least one-third of the meetings and donated, were invited to an end of the year party utilizing these funds.

Their purpose has been clearly understood, to assist the Fire Co. wherever possible. They have provided food and beverages for many events, including after major fires, incidents and drills. In 1969 they formed Squad 10 to specifically handle this purpose. Three or more members are assigned per month to be available for the calls. In 1977, during the Blizzard, they recorded some 380 hours of service. They have for many years provided lunches for the Fire Company Ball Team and have prepared and served many Funeral Breakfasts for deceased members families.

A project that is dear to the hearts of many is the scholarship that is provided to a child of a Fireman or Auxiliary member. This was started in 1981 and is given away annually. The St. Patrick’s Day Dinner is held annually to provide the funds for this.

The Ladies have participated in the Erie County, SouthWestern and State Firemen’s Auxiliaries. There have been several members who have served on Committees or as Officers in these organizations.

Charter Members

Rose Barone

Harriett Hunter

Mary Rosenbush

Mary Bindeman

Cora Jurns

Margorie Rowell

Mrs. Henry Bull

Teresa Kalbaugh

Mildred Seeriter

Helen Caputo

Florence Klies

Edna Sims

Beatrice Cherry

Mazie Meister

Gertrude Slater

Margorie Davies

Gladys Merner

Anna Strasser

Dorothy Doll

Grace Miller

Elizabeth Suess

Florence Filsinger

Lorraine Miller

Mrs. John Turner

Elizabeth Fischer

Mabel Nelson

Gladys Voigt

Beulah Forehead

Florence Memescheh

Elizabeth Voisaid

Francis Haley

Helen O’Brien

Helen Webster

May Haugh

Ann Pierson

Mayme Williams

Isabelle Herrmann

Irene Pinzel

Helene Wolf

Minnie Herrmann

Stephanie Puglisi

Ruth Holtzscher

Alice Redding

Mildred Hull
Bertha Reid

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