The fire service of South Carolina has been left a rich inheritance generally known only, valued and appreciated by a very few older generation firefighters. Little of the history of our State’s fire service has been preserved, and that which is known of the past is usually found stored away in boxes and shoved in obscure corners of a fire station. While a handful of fire departments across the State have preserved various items of vintage memorabilia, little written history, and virtually no oral history, has been saved for future descendants to enjoy, and from which to learn.
The South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association is embarking on an epic project fashioned to capture and preserve relevant details of fire history never before shared with a younger generation of firefighters or others who may have an interest. We are calling this effort our “Stones of Remembrance” Project based on the Old Testament story of Joshua who instructed his leaders to construct a memorial made out of river rocks (“Stones of Remembrance”) when the children of Israel crossed over the Jordan River to remind future generations of what God had done for them.
Your Executive Committee and Association Staff agree that now is the time to build our own “Stones of Remembrance” to celebrate the deeds of brave men and women who have contributed to the evolution of our State’s fire service. It is imperative to capture and chronicle our history by documenting each department’s birth, growth, and contributions as well as those events in their past which may have presented challenges to the performance of duty.
As one can imagine, this endeavor will not be accomplished over night, and the reality of the project is that it will never be completed for the fact that history is being created daily. Our fire service history is made up of a “continuum” of individuals, events, and circumstances. So, the challenge is to capture what is currently known through historical records, newspapers, documents, photographs, video interviews, recordings and shared stories.
In an effort to propel this project forward and to serve as an initial resource to the Project Coordinator, each department is encouraged to complete a brief questionnaire concerning your organization’s heritage. The information you provide is essential and will serve as a vital tool in structuring priorities to move this undertaking forward.
The intent of this project is not to write your department’s history for you but rather to assist in the process of capturing the information which is available and crafting a format that is most suited for preservation of your department’s heritage.