Newly formed Essex Volunteer Fire Company hosts tree lighting
To promote community unity, the Essex Volunteer Fire Company Inc. Station #51, which was formerly the Rockaway Beach Volunteer Fire Company, Hyde Park Volunteer Fire Company, and Middleborough Volunteer Fire Company, held a tree lighting and dedication ceremony, kicking off the holiday season and celebrating the fire company merger at the Rockaway Beach station.
Kevin Nida, the president of the Rockaway Beach Volunteer Co., dedicated the ceremony to Steve Kirby, a volunteer firefighter and lifelong Rockaway Beach resident who passed away suddenly this summer.
“He was not just an ordinary volunteer, he became the backbone to many of us during his 45 years of service,” said Nida.
He said that Kirby joined the volunteer company when he was just 16, dedicating decades of his life to serving the community. He also inspired a family tradition, as the two generations after him chose to become a volunteer firefighter too.
Nida recalls the many stories Kirby would tell in the station, some humorous, some seri- ous, and how he would provide advice and his expertise to the younger members.
“They’re all engraved in our heart and echoes in our station.”
His wife, Debbie, and the rest of his family accepted the 2017 dedication and flipped the switch to light the tree.
“The life and memory of Steve Kirby never will be forgotten in our hearts,” said Nida.
Following the ceremony, the crowd was greeted with a special visit from Santa Claus, who
arrived in style inside a fire truck. Santa took photos with smiling children as the crowd enjoyed refreshments and Christmas music.
In past years, the event was held exclusively by the Rockaway Beach Volunteer Company, but this year volunteer firefighters of Hyde Park and Middlesborough were also in attendance.
The companies were consolidated effective November 21.