In 1938 a group of approximately 150 men were working in conjunction with the Morris County Sheriff’s Office. The seeds of World War II were sprouting, and in an effort to counter the growing menace of sabotage and espionage, the County busied itself with investigating subversive activities. As the complexities of the war effort increased, the Civilian Defense, in cooperation with Navy Intelligence, disbanded the County group. Within the group was a nucleus of Red Cross trained corpsman which requested recognition as a first aid organization. The moment was opportune; the need was evident; the men volunteered; and in September of 1941, the Morris Minute Men First Aid Squad was conceived.
With the conclusion of the war in 1945, the continuation of the organization was questioned and although enthusiasm naturally declined, several farsighted individuals were determined to revive interest and rebuild the membership. Albert Brunnlieb, Bruce Fyfe, Neil Williams, and Robert S. Stewart publicized their feeling that a genuine need existed in the community for a first aid corps to answer pleas for transportation and emergency services. Response appeared in the form of sufficient funds to purchase a $3,840 1947 Ford ambulance equipped with emergency lights and siren. The old fish truck, our original “rig” was unhesitatingly relinquished to aid in securing a sufficient deposit.
It was at this time that Commander Brunnlieb established a principle that the Minute Men would render all services voluntarily and with no cost to the communities served.
The squad experienced progressive organizational growth. Although not officially incorporated as the Morris Minute Men until February 1952, the original set of by-laws was drawn up and adopted in September 1942. A strict code of ethics governing membership was devised. An improved dispatching system was initiated under the direction of President Johnson Stewart in 1953, by which he could provide telephone dispatching throughout the course of the day.
After a fundraising campaign has been initiated, a seven thousand dollar Superior Cadillac, crowned with the now famous Minute Men blue-paint exterior, was ordered. Upon its May 1953 dedication, it was housed at the Fairchild Fire House. In keeping with the psychological importance of always presenting a well-groomed appearance, a formal uniform of white coveralls white shirt, and black tie was adopted at this time. In November of the same year, under the able guidance of President Jack Foster, the first radio equipment for the ambulance was ordered from the Morris County Police Radio System.
The first group of trustees was formed in 1953, with George Ayers, Ben Cutler, and William Stewart filling these initial executive positions. Shortly after this, a revised set of by-laws was approved by the squad, limiting membership to thirty active corpsman and increasing the minimum eligibility age from 18 to 21 years.
Once again the squad was forced to face the reality that the increasing workload was rendering a telling effect on the 1953 Cadillac. It was decided to direct a campaign toward the purchase of a new 1959 Cadillac, which would cost approximately $11,000. Thus the standing force was increased to two emergency vehicles. At the same time a serious problem was solved when the Morris Township Committee offered to house the new ambulance in a stall at the Township garage on Mill Road, the site of the present expanded headquarters.
The corps was fortunate in 1958 to be able to purchase a second-hand Jeep wagon, which, when cleaned and painted, made a handsome and useful addition to the squad.
Since membership was growing and calls were steadily increasing, improvements had to be devised in dispatching techniques. In 1962 it was decided that call calls for the Minute Men would be channeled through the efficient Morris Country Police Radio System. The 1953 and 1959 Cadillac ambulances were at that time recorded as rigs #67 and #68 respectively. For the Jeep wagon, a portable telephone was purchased and registered with County Radio.
As is often the case, plain and concise figures tell a large story. During 1961 alone, the ambulances responded to 650 calls; automobile accidents, heart attacks, home accidents and routine transportations. Again the need arose for purchasing a replacement for the 1953 Cadillac. The members decided on a 1961 Pontiac which they would specifically label the “Johnston Stewart Memorial Ambulance,” in fond memory of their past president and dedicated colleague, who had passed away on January 23, 1961. By the end of 1961, the Morris Minute Men had enlarged their headquarters to three bays, which housed two ambulances and a Jeep. A new squad room was added which was built entirely by the members. The room was equipped with such donated luxuries as a stove, refrigerator and a new television set.
As the activities of the squad increased, it became necessary to divide the administrative and the operational responsibilities into two categories. Hence a Captain was conceived. The prime duties of this new position was to oversee the duty Lieutenants, who in turn were responsible for their respective duty teams; also the Captain was in charge of the continued updating and current instruction in first-aid.
The following year it was decided by the membership that a larger-capacity type ambulance was needed, since there was an increasing amount of occurrences where the two-carry type of rig was not sufficient. Therefore a 1964 Cadillac S&S four-carry ambulance was purchased to replace the 1959 Cadillac, at a cost in excess of $20,000. To help defray the increasing cost to operate the squad, and annual fund-drive was instituted commencing in October of each year.
In 1965 the squad, in conjunction with the Morris Township Civil Defense, was able to obtain a 1965 International four-wheel drive ambulance equipped with a winch and various other light rescue equipment. It was at this time that our 1948 Jeep was retired and auctioned off within the squad.
By 1966 the 1961 Pontiac had seen better days and a replacement was needed. Therefore a 1966 Cadillac S&S four-carry rig was purchased and rededicated the “Johnston Stewart Memorial Ambulance.” As the year came to a close, the value of all the vehicles and equipment was with in excess of $75,000 with all funds coming through the generosity of the public.
Due to the tremendous growth of the area the next three years reflected the same growth in squad activities. In order to offer the quickest response possible, it was felt by the squad that a more efficient means of alerting the duty teams was needed. In place of the existing system of dispatching duty teams by public, an electronic “Plectron” alerting system was purchased. The system, based jointly at the Morris County Police Radio and the Morris Township Police Department, can now alert duty teams via radio, since each member has a portable receiving system in his home.
As the years passed by, we concentrated mainly on equipment, both vehicular and first-aid, as well as the training of our members, always leaving a building to “some other day.” When the remainder of the building was vacated by the Morris Township Road Department, the way was paved for the Morris Township Committee to present to us, in October of 1970, the Deed to the property and building. The next few months a lot of time was spent on that “some other day” until finally on June 12, 1971, in our 30th year of existence, Ground Breaking Ceremonies were held for the new headquarters of the Morris Minute Men.
Even though a tremendous amount of time was expended toward the planning and supervision of the new building by all members, we did not lose sight of the fact that first-aid is out primary concern.
Realizing the continuous increase in needs for our services, the squad felt that a new ambulance was needed. Therefore a 1972 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ambulance was purchased and delivered in the early part of November 1971. We are now equipped with four ambulances ready to roll at a moment’s notice, with a total carrying capacity of 18 people, plus crews.
In thirty years many men have volunteered their services to the squad. Growth has been tremendous, from answering 37 calls in 1941, to 232 in 1951, to 650 in 1961, to the 1274 calls we answered in 1970. In 1971 we will surpass 1300 pleas for aid, and on each and every call we carry the same tradition started thirty years ago - to render the most highly professional, skilled, efficient, and courteous service possible.
In this date, November 13, 1972, the “some other day” has finally arrived. The members, both past and present, of the Morris Minute Men First Aid Squad are extremely proud and happy of this moment and are pleased than you, the public, can share this moment with us.
||Robert Dower||Blace La Forge
||Robert Hoffman||William Pierson
||Richard Terreri||Edward Rodgers
||Irwin Isert||Robert Truppi
|Robert Beston||Austin Bishop|
|Edward Burns||Martin Callihan|
|Robert Case||George Googan|
|William Deighan||Ronald Diamond|
|Frank Dodge||Kevin Dormer|
|Frederick Dunn||Lesley Fredrickson|
|James Gnozzop||Richard Hendrickson|
|Donald Jarvis||Walter “Chip” Kagan|
|Edward Kerwan||Nicholas Kontos|
|Martin Mackin||Murray Marks|
|John Morrison||Peter Rampone|
|Howard Sherwood||Joseph Signorelli|
|Thomas Sillence||Kenneth Smith|
|John Williams||Sheridan Willner|
|Raymond Caporasa||Richard Dugan|
|John Foster, Sr.||John Foster, Jr.|
|Robert Lyon||Thomas Meys|
|Robert Mish||Phillip Nobile|
|Gene Stewart||Elmer Swackhammer|