(As taken from dedication handbook from 1985; edited by Ryan Herzog)
The next stage of formation was the purchase of a 1943 model Chevrolet 4×4 truck, which was also through Civil Defense, for $125. The truck, containing only the pump, was completely stripped of all needed equipment. Glenn Kinney and Herman Harper picked the truck up at Ft. Campbell. Then it was time to prepare this truck for duties of fire protection.
Two booster hose reels and a 500 gallon tank were fabricated and installed by Glenn Kinney and James Schmidt. Finally the truck was completed and stocked with much needed fire equipment. It was kept at their home after completion, which called for the third stage – a building for the fire truck.
Lions members signed a note to cover the original cost of the Fire Station and Lions building and property. Funds were raised by canvassing the Hendron Community to buy membership for $25 per year to avoid paying for regular fire calls. The Lions Club also had ham and turkey shoots, suppers, and other fundraisers to help pay the expenses. The real chore came when the building was going up.
Having to depend on donated labor, the tremendous endeavor of getting everyone involved began. The building was started by Orlando Menunier, Wilson Bogard, Ben Kinney, Percy McWaters, and his father. After much time and little progress it was very fortunate that help was received from the West Kentucky Vocational School. It only took Mr. Lee, the instructor, and his students a few days to finish the building. Payment to them was to furnish their lunch. H.C. Butler and son, Bobby, finished the concrete floors. Petter Supply donated the heating system. The duct work was installed by Lion Roy Ward along with other Lions.
The second truck, which was a tanker, was also purchased from the Civil Defense. It was put into running condition by Tom Belt and Leon Draffen. The sanding and painting was done by members of the Fire Department and Lions Club. Dewey Bean donated the first Jeep to be used as a brush truck. Ellis Housman donated the pole and equipment to install the siren. This community has been fortunate to have good generous men in the Fire Department.
Jim Sanders became the first Fire Chief and Johnnie Oliver served as Assistant Chief until his death. Expenses were kept to a minimum. We are fortunate to get an annual budget from the Fiscal Court. In 1965, when we were becoming financially stable, a new fire truck was ordered. All the years of hard work finally paid off when the brand new American LaFrance truck arrived in Paducah by rail headed for the Hendron Community. Everyone was ecstatic.
The next stage was forming the Water District. Again the community was canvassed to sign for the water tap-ons. The number of sign-ups needed to apply for the grant to get the system was secured. The Water Board, made of Jim Sanders, Jr., Troy Bean, Vincent Herzog, and Albert Karnes, were all members of the Lions Club at the time. The Lions Club sold property to the Water District to build the present office. This money was applied to our debt on the Fire Station.
Now Hendron thought modernization had hit, with a brand new truck, Fire Station and Water district,
Now they signed up with telephone answering service. They would set the alarm off and would also call one or two people. As the alarm was sounding, Margaret Oliver and other women would call firemen. In its day it was a great system. The Fire Department has expanded in many ways over the years. It was the first to have any lime green fire trucks and is still the only in the county. All the original vehicles have been sold and replaced with a second or third truck, plus a 4-wheel drive brush truck. The departments expansion includes moving the American LaFrance fire truck to the new station in Freemont.
In closing this brief history of HFD and Lions Club, let us not forget the years of service and effort put forth by our first Fire Chief and Lion Jim Sanders, who retired due to ill health. Also let us remember the good Lion and Fireman who replaced him, our own beloved and respected Armon T. Massa. Let us encourage all the new and present members of the Fire Department, when you are asked to take training, or when necessary jobs require many hours of your time and effort in order to make a top ranked Fire Department, remember, that the original Firemen and Lions were asked to do the same; and that all the hard work of the Firemen and Lions is for the betterment of the Hendron and Freemont communities.
Our First Chief
James Edward Sanders, Sr
Was born and raised in the Hendron Community. He is the second of five generations of his family to live in the Hendron Community. Throughout his adult life, Jim Sanders has lived and worked in Hendron. His business was one of the first businesses in Hendron. James Sanders has instilled into his family the importance of working for the betterment of the Hendron Community. James Sanders served many years as a Lions Club member as well as 10+ years as active Fire Chief. During his service as Chief he actively maintained leadership capabilities in the beginning to start with the first Civil Defense trucks and equipment to bring the department from a 10 rating to a 6. The volunteer hours he served as Fire Chief and Lions Club member may be numerous in clock hour but we are sure that each and every one is cherished in his heart to know that has been fulfilled by working for the community.
Our Second Chief
Armon Thomas Massa
A.T. Massa was born in Ballard county on Oct. 18, 1926. In February 1957, he moved to the Hendron Community with his wife Beatrice and their sons, Terry and Garry. Mr. and Mrs. Massa were both active in the Cub Scouts in 1957. In 1958, Mr. Massa become a leader in the Boy Scouts. He was involved in the organization until 1974.
In July 1961 Mr. Massa helped build and was very instrumental in starting the Hendron Fire Department. He had 29 years of volunteer fire service, 23 of those were with the Hendron Fire Department. He was Assistant Chief for several years before becoming Chief in 1982 after the retirement of James Sanders, Sr. Like Mr. Sanders, Mr. Massa was also a member of the Lions Club and received recognition as Hendron Lions Club Outstanding Lion in 1984-1985.
Mr. Massa was very dedicated to the people and organizations of his community. Mr. Massa passed away on April 27, 1985. He will never be forgotten and always remembered for his service to all the organizations he was involved with. In honor of Mr. Massa and his service a monument was placed on the Fire Department property and a dedication of a community park including picnic area and soccer fields, further plans for the park are still in the works and we would like to continue to expand the communities enjoyment of the area.
Our Third Chief
Phillip Douglas Walker
Phil was born April 22, 1952. to Earnest T. and Ruby Walker of the Hendron area. He grew up in the community, having gone to Hendron Grade School then Lone Oak High School. He also had a background of being involved with the Boy Scout of America, having been a member under the leadership of Armon T. Massa.
Phil has been a member of Hendron Fire Department since around 1970. He served a term as Assistant Chief for about 3 years, and served 11 years as Lieutenant, until the loss of Armon Massa, at which time he became Chief in 1985. Among his many areas of knowledge, Phil has a pretty extensive background of Arson Investigation. He was appointed as Deputy Forest Warden in 1983 and was also nominated and voted as one of the most outstanding young men of America for 1984 by the Paducah Jaycees.
Phil continues to remind us of our purpose of being volunteer firemen by continuing to help educate us with his personal experience and knowledge of not only fire fighting but the continual pursuit of providing the best of what we can for Hendron.
Our Fourth Chief
Bio currently unavailable.
Our Current Chief
Bio currently unavailable.