Founded in 1924, the East Meadow Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary formed their group of wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers of the East Meadow volunteer firefighters who unselfishly gave of their time to respond and support our volunteers at fires and community events.
Our first president of record was Mrs. Fred Bickmeyer.
As the early years passed these women became a mainstay in serving hot coffee, cold drinks, and donuts to their firefighters during major fires.
Year after year the Ladies Auxiliary formed a deeper bond as they organized a parade group to march along with the members of our Fire Department.
With other organizations forming within the fire service such as the Nassau County Fire Service Ladies Auxiliary, our ladies became more and more involved.
As the department evolved with new committees, the ladies Auxiliary progressed to be a part of it all with ladies sitting on committees such as fund raisers, installation dinners, elections, Firemen’s home events, and so much more.
Over the decades the Ladies would win trophy after trophy in parade competitions for best appearing units wearing their flashy red, white, and blue, navy style uniforms. A proud look for any East Meadow volunteer who had a member of his family involved.
It was in these decades that the EMFD Ladies Auxiliary were one of the largest auxiliaries in the county, marching in perfect formation three abreast behind our dedicated volunteers.
In 1986 the East Meadow Fire Department ladies would win the New York State Championship in Parade competitions.
During the course of their journey, the Ladies Auxiliary had met with many other achievements.
In June of 15 EMFDLA Past President Fran Santoro began her rise in the Nassau County Ladies Auxiliary culminating with her election to President in 1990. Fran would become to first East Meadow lady to achieve such as honor.
In December of 1991, Past President Patricia Magnus Brown would be elected by the residents of the East Meadow Fire District as Fire Commissioner. A term she worked tirelessly for 5 years, fulfilling her many goals in doing her part to improve our organization.
In 1993, auxiliary members Patricia Magnus Brown and longtime friend Phyllis Sperr would join the ranks of Rescue Company 5 becoming EMTS and serving our community in yet another role. Both accomplished women throughout their lives, Pat would go up the ranks of Rescue 5 as Lieutenant in the late 1990s, and on to Captain not just once, but twice in 2001 and 2002. Phyllis, would make department history in May of 2009, achieving Rescue 5s highest award for most alarms answered, winning the Gold Pin for 15 years consecutive years. An accomplishment that may never be duplicated.
It would be no surprise, that both ladies would become the first women in the history of the East Meadow Fire Department to achieve Life Membership. Both would continue to be an integral part of Rescue 5 as of this writing in 2021.
In 1995, the Ladies Parade group would again put their best foot forward as they became the Nassau County Parade Champions once more winning countless trophies during the course of the parade season.
In May of 2003, Phyllis Sperr would be recognized by the Nassau County Fire Service receiving the 2003 award for “Outstanding Service”. A proud moment shared with her husband Ex Chief Arthur Sperr.
In November of 2012, Past President Mary C. Messina was elected President of the Nassau County Ladies Auxiliary of the Nassau County Firemen’s Association. A proud and well deserved honor after years of side by side service between the East Meadow Ladies Auxiliary and our Nassau County organization. The new President would be sworn into office in the presence of her husband Ex Chief Frank Messina, and Father Paul Bopp, a 50 year firefighter of the Levittown Fire Department, as well as her family including Brother In Law Ex Chief Anthony Messina, and her closest friends.
On that same evening Past President Francis Santoro, was called to the podium as the 2012 recipient of the NCLA “Member Achievement Award” for her 60 years of service to the East Meadow Ladies Auxiliary, and decades of service as a member of the Nassau County Ladies Auxiliary.
In 2015, Past President Jane McGee would follow suit reaching the rank of President of our Nassau County organization as well. Before her family and closest friends including her two East Meadow firefighter sons Brian and Robert, her 3rd son Asst Chief John, and her firefighter father Michael Fayhe of the Albertson Fire Company Jane recited the presidency Oath of Office.
In September of 2015 auxiliary member Lois Thomas became the first and only member of the EMFD Ladies to achieve 50 years marching in the Ladies parade group.
In 2021, President Teresa O’Brien would achieve the Office of EMFD Ladies Auxiliary President for the seventh year. Just prior, Sister in Law Janet O’Brien would achieve the office of auxiliary President for 6 years.
Today, the Ladies auxiliary remains an integral part of the East Meadow Fire Department representing it in all their annual committees, county and State fire service events, and of greatest importance to them, the service provided to our volunteers at major fires.
In-as-much-as times have changed since 1924, many things have remained the same. Our Ladies can still be found out in the dead of winter, in the heat of the summer, day or night, responding with the necessary hot coffee in the winter, and cold energy drinks in the warmer months to assist in restoring the health of exhausted firefighters after the fire.
It can be said that behind every great man, there is a great woman. No truer words could be said about the EMFD Ladies Auxiliary. They have been the backbone of success for many generations of East Meadow firefighter volunteer firefighters. Because of their support, many of these firefighters would spend decades responding to emergencies, some rising through company office to Captain, some becoming Chiefs. But one thing for certain, the support in the home has always had a great effect on the volunteerism in the community of East Meadow.