By Kayleen Holder
There was quite a crowd of DuBoses and community members at the Dubose Firehouse this Saturday, as the dedication and revealing of the plaque took place at 3 pm. The amount of hours and manpower that’s been put into our local volunteer fire department by so many families over the past 93 years, is insurmountable. I wish we could name every single one of those heroes, who sacrificed their time doing to such hard and important work for our community.
The event began with several community members looking at old photos and swapping stories with the new generation who keeps the Devine Volunteer Fire trucks rolling.
Chief Greg Atkinson gave a speech as they got ready to officially name the station and reveal the plaque out front. Atkinson said the name “DuBose” kept appearing and reappearing as he researched the history of the Devine Volunteer Fire Department, and he was honored when Patrick DuBose retired from SAFD and re-joined Devine VFD as the Assistant Chief.
When it comes to Devine Volunteer Department, Atkinson said, “there are several families that left behind a legacy….there were Ehlingers; there were Rodriguez’; there were Bramhalls,” just to name a few.
For 83 of the 93 years that the department has existed, a DuBose has been on the roster alongside so many other volunteers, Atkinson said.
“A DuBose helped found this department. A DuBose helped incorporate this department. A DuBose helped form Emergency Service District #2. If it wasn’t for this family, the city of Devine would have lacked fire and medical services on many occasions. What a legacy,” Chief Atkinson said.
“I want to say thank you to this family,” Chief Atkinson said. “That’s 83 years of not just firefighter support but of the families who had mom or dad who were away from dinner or Christmas morning because they had to go help somebody…It’s 83 years where mom or dad or son had to run out the door to help someone when it was an important time in that person’s life too…what a sacrifice. On behalf of me and my staff, thank you.”
Mrs. Bobbie DuBose got up to speak for a few minutes after the dedication. She shared stories of when she took over dispatcher duties, answering fire calls from her home phone, all while raising three kiddos.
“I’ll never forget when Richard Schott asked Dub and I to answer the calls at home. ‘It’ll just be temporary,’ he said. Do you know how long it lasted?” she asked with a smile. “For 10 years I answered that phone at night and on the weekends!”
But that wasn’t all, she went with her husband to fire calls now and then too.
“But anyway it was exciting,” DuBose said. “I stuck with it and he stuck with me. The life of a wife of a fireman named Dub DuBose. I’ll tell ya, many nights he would take the tanker truck out to a fire. I would drive and he would run the fire hose.”
She later added,“One time our young daughter Jennifer had to answer the fire phone, she was scared and didn’t want to, but she did it because she knew it was important and had to be done. She did a great job, we were proud of her of course”.
Lewis Stroud fondly recalled a fire story and shared it with us at the news office recently.
“I remember back in 1955 when our house was on fire on Zig Zag, just outside the city. C.P.DuBose jumped on the fire engine as one of the other firemen stood in front of the truck and told him he couldn’t take it outside city limits. C.P. told him to get out of the way or he would run him over, as he wasn’t going to let the Stroud home burn down. He zipped on over and put out the fire all by himself. If it wasn’t for C. P. our home would have burned down!” said Stroud. “I was in the 5th grade at the time.”
The fire house was across the street from The Devine News where C.P. worked, so when the sirens went off he made many fires during his time as did his sons Dub, Wade, Pat and grandson Patrick DuBose who all worked at the news office over the years. This is what many businesses did that had volunteer firemen as employees. They knew the volunteers were limited during the working hours as many worked out of town. So they allowed their employees to go to fire calls during working hours while they were on the payroll, to protect the community and its families. Henry Schmidt was one of those business owners who allowed his employees to run out to the fires, and he was usually right beside them. Small town businesses sacrificed and took care of their fellow neighbors in need. Schmidt’s son Mike and his friends Mickey Davis, Gilbert Rodriguez and Patrick DuBose were allowed as juniors and seniors to leave the high school to fight fires, because they were needed during daylight hours to fill the need and put out the fires alongside the few volunteers who were available during working hours.
The DuBose family is humbled by this honor, and wants to recognize all of the many men and women who worked side by side to keep the fire trucks rolling all these years, and many more to come.