I wanted so very much to write this back in August - when it was more timely - but my old computer wouldn't let me. So, I thought this might be a good time, too. I lost my wonderful Daddy, Billy Schempp, two years ago Tuesday (December 14, 2008). I miss him so every day.
Daddy was a volunteer firefighter in Donora for most of his life - and for a while, Assistant Chief, in Donora. He loved everything about firefighting and he was so proud of his fire engine, a 1947 American La France 750 Pumper. I'm quite proud to be the owner of this today. Throughout the years, Daddy maintained The Truck (as I call it) to keep it in perfect condition - as it is now. It pumps and it could get to a fire if need be. I can even drive it, but not so well.
He developed macular degeneration and was unable to drive the last few years. He had some great friends drive to the local (and not so local) parades. We still participate in the local parades, but mostly just in Donora. And we're proud that Bobby Bettinelli (Sr) drives in every event for us now. He, too, was a Donora firefighter.
Over the years, The Truck won many awards, including best pumper, longest distance traveled, judge's choice, people's choice, oldest truck and best open cab pumper. There are trophies in every room of the house.
Nowadays The Truck is just about the only open cab pumper in the parades. At the Donora Fire Company Street Fair this summer, just look what I won: