WESTFIELD - Planning for the 105th Southwestern Association of Volunteer Firemen was based on hosting about 1,000 firefighters and guests during the three-and-a-half-day event which concluded Saturday night in Westfield, and the actual total slightly exceeded that.
There were 1,056 conventioneers who officially registered, according to Marsha Holland, SWAVF vice president for Chautauqua County.
Longtime Westfield volunteer Ed Kneer noted that many firefighters from SWAVF's four-county area couldn't attend because they had to be ready to answer alarms in their respective districts. As an example, Kneer said some Brocton, Mayville, Portland, Ripley and Westfield firefighters and medical personnel were on stand-by during the entire convention. The same was true in other districts which were represented at the convention, according to Kneer.
Members of Kinney Hose Co. from Westons Mills, near Olean, happily show their trophies for “Best Firemen Appearing Overall” (larger) and for first place in the color guard competition. The trophies were awarded Saturday at Westfield fire hall. Westfield hosted this year’s Southwestern Association of Volunteer Firemen convention.
Photo by Dave O’Connor
Following the mid-afternoon Grand Parade on Main Street, awards were presented to departments who excelled in various categories, according to convention judges.
"Best Firemen Appearing Overall" was taken by Kinney Hose Co. from Westons Mills in Cattaraugus County. Kinney also won first in the "Fire Department Color Guard" competition and in the "Best Firemen Cadence Unit/Drums only."
"Best Appearing Fire Companies" awards were given to Lake Shore (first) and Orchard Park (second) for departments with 15-to-23 members marching, and Highland Hose(first), Richburg (second) and Lake Erie Beach (third) for units with six-to-14 members on parade. All of these departments are in Erie County with the exception of Richburg in Allegany County.
One Chautauqua County department, Sheridan, won a Grand Parade award for third place in "Fire Dept Color Guard."
Next year's convention will be hosted in Bolivar.