plano VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER REMEMBERED
The extraordinary loss of life following the West, Texas explosion brought back memories of when I was growing up in Plano. The fire station was located on the north side of 15th Street just east of K Avenue (Highway 75 those days). The building was always open in warm weather and usually there were old timers gathered around a well-used table engaged in a domino game. My dad was often one of those men playing dominoes. Sometimes Mother would send me up to the station to bring Daddy home for dinner or to help her with a chore.
I remember there was a large black and white picture of a young man framed in dark wood hanging on the wall. The picture was there to memorialize their fellow firefighter and friend who had died fighting a fire in the west part of Plano in 1950. If memory serves me correctly, during the fire a live wire broke loose from the power pole and electrocuted him. I remember what a tragedy it was for everyone in Plano, not just his family and friends. The town was small and everyone knew everyone else. I did not know him personally, but I went to school with some of his relatives.
The picture on the fire station wall was only one memorial to the deceased firefighter. His name, Clyde “Cotton” Landers, is also engraved for posterity on the Volunteer Firefighters of Texas statue that sits on the south lawn of the Capitol in Austin. It appears on the north view of the inscriptions.
Clyde Landers, 18 Jun 1925- 02 Apr 1950
The Volunteer Firefighters statue featuring a firefighter’s towering figure is the second oldest statue in Texas and dedicated on July 7, 1896, five years after the Alamo Defenders Monument was placed on the South grounds of the Capitol. The fifty-foot firefighters’ monument honors those volunteers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. There are 138 names etched in the pedestal. Chris Barron, executive director of the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas, said volunteer fire departments make up about 78 per cent of Texas’ 1,400 fire departments across the state of Texas. He went on to say that between four and six are killed each year while on duty.
The monument has no more room to add names since it filled up in 2011. Since then, seven more names need to be added not including the ten West firefighters. The brave men who receive no salary deserve to have their names added. There is an effort to raise over $100,000 for the expansion. This is the only monument where volunteer firefighters killed in the line of duty are honored and it sits on the Capitol grounds.
For a list of names currently on the monument, go to www.sffma.org/names.html. I found his vital information at www.deathindexes.com/texas/.
It is important for genealogists and historians to write about their memories. We are always complaining about not listening to relatives talk about their memories. If it is written, then those memories can be retrieved.
GEORGIA HISTORIC CEMETERY DESECRATED: A $2,000 reward is offered for information on the culprits who destroyed and scattered the remains of veterans from the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and from World War I buried in the Old Church Cemetery near Waynesboro. American Legion Post 120 is planning to restore the cemetery as best they can but it will take time and money. See Military.com for the story. www.military.com/daily-news/2013/04/19/graves-desecrated-at-historic-georgia-cemetery.html.
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org.