Rio Grande Fire Company

The Rio Grande Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary was formed in 1927 with the help of the Ladies of the Anglesea Fire Company Auxiliary with the main purpose to support the Fire Company. The first president was Mrs. Emily Smith.

The Auxiliary is a very active organization. Fund raising activities in the past have included minstrels, carnivals, bazaars, various suppers, creating and selling cookbooks, and selling flowers at Easter time. Members today can be seen raising funds working in the “Bingo Kitchen“, making hoagies different times during the summer season, sponsoring trips to the Casinos or West Virginia, holding Country Dances, and running the concession stand at the Waterball Competition when it is hosted by Rio Grande Fire Company. Through these fundraising efforts the Auxiliary has been able to support the fire company with monetary donations to help build the new fire house, purchase the Jaws of Life and its attachments, purchase items such as nozzles, fire hose, ladders, lights, and radios. Monies were given to the Fire Company to refurbish the 1950 Mack Fire Engine, to purchase the Bronze Axe plaque for the 65th Anniversary, and towards the purchase of the planters at the Middle Township Performing Arts Center in memory of the fallen firefighters of the Rio Grande Fire Company. In addition to the above purchases the Auxiliary has raised funds to make improvements to the fire house such as new carpet in the Bingo Hall, curtains, new bathroom stalls, kitchen equipment, a Memorial Plague to hang the outside of the fire house, and the decorations and flowers to maintain the planters in the Performing Arts Center. This past year the Auxiliary has been able to replace lighted announcement sign out front of the firehouse.

The members of the Auxiliary not only support the Fire Company with monetary donations. Today the members can be seen serving fire fighters hot and cold beverages, ice packs, and donuts at major fires and calls during the day or even in the middle of the night. The first response of the Auxiliary “Coffee Wagon” was at a tanker accident at the Wildwood Water Works on Route 47. Another purpose of the Auxiliary is to support the community. Yearly donations are made to The American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, and The Burn Foundation. During Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays food certificates to Shop-Rite are given to families in need, gifts are distributed to shut-ins of the community, and presents are purchased for children whose names are on the Sharing Trees at K-Mart or Ames. The Auxiliary also helps families in the fire district who have been burnt out of their homes by donating money, clothing, and food items.

In 1944 the Auxiliary entertained our Service Men as they came home from the war. The fire whistle was blown every time a soldier stepped off the train. In 1989, after Hugo hit the Carolinas, the Fire Company and Ladies Auxiliary started a local fund drive along with other local fire companies. A donated U-haul truck was filled with fire coats, boots, bunkers, air bottles, helmets, hose, and other such items and transported south where many new friends were met in Williamsburg County and Manning, South Carolina. Just like with any organization work is not the only thing the Auxiliary does. In 1982, the women of the Auxiliary purchased uniforms so that they could march in the NJ State Fireman’s Association parade. In 1984 the Ladies received a trophy for “Best in State for Auxiliaries”. Because of the fun that was had by all that participated activities were increased to include participation in the local Christmas parades. Each year a float is prepared with a holiday theme, which will allow the children of the Fire Company and Ladies Auxiliary to also join in the fun.

Since the first meeting held on November 23, 1927 supporting the firefighters and members of the community of Rio Grande has been the Auxiliary’s first priority. We are proud of our success over the years and plans to continue and grow stronger every year are always foremost in our minds. Why not come visit us, you may want to join. The Auxiliary meets at the Rio Grande firehouse every 2nd Monday of the month except for July and August at 8:00 p.m. If you would like more information you can call 886-1422, leave your name and number and someone will get back to you, or you could fill in the form on the next page and someone will get back to you.