MOUNT CARMEL - The Anthracite Steam Fire Company remembered its proud history with its 80th annual Prince's Birthday banquet Feb. 16. Prince, along with his companion, King, was one of the first two horses owned by the Mount Carmel's first fire company.
Guest speaker for the evening was Phillip Groody, Ashland fire chief. A member of the American Hose Company No. 1, Groody spoke on volunteerism and the need for more people to join local fire companies.
Susan Hawkins, treasurer of the Anthracite, was this year's recepient of the George Hancock Memorial Award. This is the 30th year the award has been presented. It is named in honor and memory of the company's longtime tresurer and past borough fire chief.
According to The Mount Carmel Item of Feb. 23, 1904, the Anthracite observed Prince's 18th birthday on Feb. 22, and this year marked his 127th. Iron gray in color, Prince was injured when the company was destroyed by fire Feb. 1, 1908. At the Six-County Firemen's Association parade in Shenandoah in 1910, he won a prize at the oldest fire horse in the parade. After 20 years of service, Prince was retired to the borough's poor farm. The company's first "official" celebration of its most famous fire horse was held Feb. 22, 1934.
The Rev. Joan Brown of Grace United Church of Christ gave the invocation and benediction. David Berezovske served as master of ceremonies. James Williams Sr. presented the Hancock Award and introduced the company's officers. Music was provided by Power Sounds
Currrent officers are James Williams Sr., president; Eric Troutman, vice president; David Berezovske, recording secretary; Marilyn Williams, financial secretary; Susan Hawkins, treasurer; Joseph Hawkins, Edward Kin, and Jack Williams Sr., trustees; and David Forgotch, segeant-at-arms. Truck room officers are John Williams Jr., assistant fire chief; James Williams Sr., captain; Michael Kotzo and Sean Williams, lieutenants, and Eric Troutman, chief engineer.
Those wishing to join the Anthracite can contact the company during business hours. Training sessions are held at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.