Early Years      Ambulance Service      Expanded Photo Gallery
Oquawka Volunteer Fire Department  By:  Hal Jern, November 1986
Oquawka Fire Fighters

Five (5) veteran Oquawka Firefighter's have been nominated for the Community Service Awards sponsored by The National Fire Department Magazine "FireHouse" based in New York, NY. The Oquawka volunteers are the first group to receive and be recognized for their dedication to the Fire Department and the community in which they serve in Henderson County, Illinois.

They miss sleep, hot meals, work, by responding at anytime of nite or day, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, good or very bad weather, holidays. They are ready for anything because, you never know what you may come up against. It is a very dangerous service to be in. The call you respond to may be your last. The members also work in Public Fire Prevention showing citizens and school pupils the dangers of fires and what they can do to protect themselves against it.

Since 1936 they have raised money through, Carnivals, dances, and soup suppers to buy two Pumpers, two tanker trucks, a new Fire Department Headquarters in 1968 and they needed Helmets, coats, boots, gloves, airpacks and equipment that goes along with it all. The Oquawka Volunteer Fire Department is not a taxed fire district. They are owned by the city of Oquawka. Rural Fire Protection is rented to people outside the city limits of Oquawka. Subscription Membership Association. The Honoree's for Community Service are:

Kenneth Smith, Banker, fifty (50) years
Melvin Boughton Sr., Professional Truck Driver / Mechanic and Amoco Service Station Operator, fourty-eight (48) years
Kenneth Jern, Barber and Fire-fighter at I.A.A.P., thirty-six (36) years
Harold "Huck" Lumbeck, Professional Truck Driver, forty-three (43) years>
George Olson Jr., Restaurant owner, thirty-five (35) years

"There is no greater Valor than that which exists among Firefighters", Benjamin Franklin, noted stateman, Inventor and Volunteer Firefighter, in 1736 founded the colonies First Volunteer Fire Department in America named the Union Fire Company. Organized in Philadelpha, Pennsylvania. Volunteers are the wealth of any community, without them we as citizens would not servive. And in this day and age, we are extremely lucky to them, their always ready, always willing, to render aid at any time of NEED!

Oquawka Fire Fighters
Pictured here from left to right are firemen: Harold Lumbeck, Bill Bundy, Todd Shinberger, Aaron Parsons, Lyndell Parsons, Hal Jern, Troy Jern, Steven Lumbeck, Perry Parsons, and Bucky Brownlee.
The Early Years

In the very early years of the Oquawka volunteer fire department, fire fighting equipment amounted to a hose cart and a hand drawn and hand pumped pumper to fight the fires. In 1928 the city got it's first motorized fire truck which is still owned by the village of Oquawka. It is only used for parades. There are many people still around Oquawka that remember Harry "Had" Noble and his love for that old Model T and the way it roared to fight fires. Today there are three trucks that are used in the Oquawka fire department. Not only does the fire department cover the village of Oquawka, they also used to cover the rural areas and mutual aid to other towns. Of course the old 1901 firehouse was too small for their newer equipment. So in 1967 a new building was put up just across the alley on Warren Street to house all the fire fighting equipment. Along with meeting room, shower, restrooms, and a small kitchen. The cost of this new building in 1967 was $13,500. In 1998, a new addition was built onto the fire station adding three new stalls. Currently the fire station houses three trucks, along with two county ambulances, and a 1923 Model T Ford antique fire truck. In 1999 the meeting room was remodeled with the help of fire department volunteers. It is frequently used for Boy Scout meetings, fire and ambulance department meetings, and it is a polling place for one precinct in Oquawka. In the spring of 1999 the fire department installed a new fire siren warning system to be used to call firemen and alert the town for severe weather. The siren blows for 3 minutes with a high and low pitch for fire calls and will blow for 5 minutes constant pitch for severe weather.

Ambulance Service

The North Henderson County Ambulance Service/Oquawka Ambulance was established in 1975.

In March of 2009 we were able to receive a new ambulance through the funding of the Henderson County board and the Oquawka Ambulance, it is a year 2009 Ford Medtec purchased from Foster Coach Sales in Sterling, IL, it replaced a 2000 Ford Medtec Ambulance and was purchased by the Galesburg Hospitals Ambulance Service (G.H.A.S.). We are a Basic Life Support service and currently have 13 EMT's (class B/D), 13 First responders and 5 driver's.

Our Ambulance service is all volunteer. We average approximately 200 to 220 runs a year, which is very busy for a small community service. We cover an area of about 20 miles North to South and 10 miles to the East, as well as provide assistance to other services close to us in need.

We hava a Paramedic Services that provides our County with Advanced Life Support needs, they include Galesburg Hospital Ambulance Service Ambulances stationed at the OSF Holy Family Hospital in Monmouth, Il. Burlington, Ia. Fire Dept, Med-force Helicopter stationed at Great River Medical Center and AMT Ambulance service from Aledo, Il. ALS assistance when it is needed.

Our volunteers do a very good job and they are very dedicated to their community.

If anyone is interested in Being a EMT or a First Responder, Please let me know.

Troy A. Jern, EMT B/D, Director North Henderson County Ambulance of Oquawka, Illinois.

Email Address: nhcasdirector@hotmail.com


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