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Engine dedicated in honor of former Sanbornton Fire Chief

Sanbornton Fire Chief Paul Dexter presented retired chief Jon Sanborn with a plaque during the recent dedication of the town's new Engine 2 in his honor. A similar plaque is also in place on the apparatus itself and will remain there as long as it is in service. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
November 04, 2021
SANBORNTON – Monday, Oct. 25, was a special day for the members of both Sanbornton Fire & Rescue Department and the residents of the community when they dedicated their new Engine 2 in honor of former Fire Chief Jon Sanborn, who retired in 2003.

Sanborn served the town for a total of 27 years and was also Sanbornton's last volunteer chief. He held that title for 15 years.

The event last week began with a ceremonial "Push In" of the new engine. Chief Paul Dexter explained that in the 1800s fire apparatus was basically a horse drawn wagon, which would bring crews and equipment to the scene of any fire. After each call the firefighters would unhook the horses, place them in their stalls, and feed them. The harnesses were then hung from the ceiling, ready to be used again at a moment's notice, and the wagon was pushed back into the fire station.

The new engines today are far too heavy to push, but in honor of that tradition, Engine 2 was backed slowly into the station that evening while department members walked along with their hands on the hood to simulate a "Push In." Once it was safely back in its bay residents and staff then gathered inside.

Dexter stood beside the engine to address the crowd as the dedication got underway.

"We dedicate this engine in the tradition that we've had here in Sanbornton for a number of years," he said as he then explained that they like to dedicate new apparatus in honor of a retired chief or deputy chief.

The current Engine 1 was dedicated to former Chief George Courier, the first chief of SFRD, while the town's tanker truck was dedicated to Deputy Steve Surowiec upon his more recent retirement.

"We've gotten a little behind on some of our dedications," Dexter said, "so in that same tradition, we dedicate this new engine to retired Fire Chief Jon Sanborn."

The dedication was a surprise for the retired chief and he could only say a quiet thank you for the honor.

Dexter also presented Sanborn with a plaque to commemorate the event while a similar plaque was waiting to be uncovered on the engine itself.

"That plaque will remain on the engine until it's retired, then we'll take it off and hang it inside the station with the others," Dexter said in an interview later last week.

The new engine was purchased through an Apparatus Replacement plan where voters at town meeting each March have the opportunity to place funds in an account for the department's future needs.

"We try to look ahead 3-4 years to put money in that Capitol Reserve account every year," said Dexter.

That plan has worked well for both the town and the taxpayers, he added. When the time came last year to purchase a new engine, they were able to pay cash for the new apparatus, a move which in itself saved the town a lot of money. While the engine still cost $508,000, there were no other fees attached for bonding and no interest to pay. It was simply built then delivered to the town this past July.

"Thanks to the Capitol Reserve funds in place, we actually saved $15,000 just because there were no finance charges added on," the chief said.

The vehicle also has a stainless steel body, which will prevent it from rusting and hopefully serve the town well for several years.

Engine 2 has actually been in service for approximately three months and Dexter had hoped to hold the dedication and Push In ceremonies sooner, but the summer of 2021 turned out to be a busy one for the small department. To date he said they have received more than 412 calls for service, many being accidents and carbon monoxide safety incidents. A quieter fall season allowed them time to finally invite everyone to the station to dedicate the engine and the chief and his crew were pleased to see a great turnout for the ceremony.

Resident realtor and videographer Brandon Deacon recorded the event, and it can now be viewed on the Sanbornton Fire Relief Association's Facebook page where more information on the department and their upcoming activities can always be found.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord & Osman
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