Pioneers of Carlisle Fire Company

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Chief Emeritus MHitch 011813By Glenn A. Gillespie

Marvin B. Hitch joined as a volunteer firefighter with the Carlisle Fire Company on July 7, 1949. Not only is he a respected member of the Delaware Volunteer Fire Service, serving the citizens of Kent County, but also is a recognized veteran who defended our Country during World War II with the United States Army serving in the Pacific Theater. Upon his return to Delaware he continued serving and defending the citizens of Delaware as a respected member of the Army Reserve. Following a very successful military career he retired with the rank of Sergeant Major. During his many years with the Delaware National Guard he also had a profound impact on a number of men from Kent County that not only served in the Reserve but continues serving today throughout our member Fire Companies. Obviously his military experiences contributed to his personality and outlook on life. Today he maintains a simple philosophy that pertains to any challenge: “If you do it, do it right or don’t do it at all”.

In 2010, Marvin was recognized for sixty years of service and during that tenure has served on many committees, offices and on the Board of Directors. In 1969 he was elected to the position of Chief Engineer remaining in that office for one year. In 1970 he was elected as Fire Chief for the department, a position he held for nine years and again was elected as Fire Chief in 1993, totaling ten years in this position. One of his signature accomplishments while Chief of the Department was the establishment of a Junior Membership program in 1973. Creating this program enabled qualified youths between the ages of 14 through 18 years of age the opportunity to participate and learn the importance of safety and fire fighting. Since the inception of this program, it has resulted in a number of young men pursuing professional firefighting careers. As a result of his vision and continued dedication, this program has weathered the test of time and complemented the Department’s success by producing young men and women that have matured into positive influences within the community.

In the early 1970’s it was obvious that the fire company had outgrown its building and an expansion was needed. A Building Committee was formed where Marvin as well as selected members of the Company spent countless hours towards the construction of the current facility. As Fire Chief during this time period, Marvin was responsible for drawing the original layout of the station on a napkin to which architects followed with few changes. As a member on the 1990 Ladder truck Committee, Past Chief Hitch assisted in the success of the committee and selection of the 1992 Simon LTI Aerial Truck for the department. Over 3,000 man hours as well as 7,000 miles traveled to bring about the reality of the largest and most expensive piece of equipment purchased to serve and protect our community into the 21st century.

In 1992, Past Chief Hitch received the honor as our Department’s Engineer with the Most Alarms as well as being recognized as the Milford Elks Club’s “Fireman of the Year”. His commitment to the department is unprecedented by serving as the Department’s Vice President in 2001 and as Acting President in 2009. At the Annual Company Banquet in March of 2010 Marvin was celebrated and recognized by the Delaware House of Representatives as well as the Delaware Senate recognizing his sixty years of service to our department. In addition, he was recognized as only the second man in our departments 209 year history as Chief Emeritus.

Today, Marvin is 91 years of age and is the oldest member within Carlisle and continues to actively serve the department attending monthly meetings within the Company as well as the various County and State venues. In 2010, Chief Emeritus Hitch participated in the installation ceremonies installing CFC, Past Assistant Chief and current Vice President, Glenn Gillespie to begin the tedious job of working through the chairs of the State Fire Chief’s Association. Chief Emeritus Marvin B. Hitch remains an honored and well respected member of the Carlisle Fire Company of Milford. Chief Emeritus Marvin B. Hitch one of today’s true Pioneers of Carlisle.

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