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Port Jervis firefighter grateful for honor of serving as Grand Marshal in July 8 parade

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

PORT JERVIS, NY -- Port Jervis firefighter Robert “Bob” W. Hicks is one of two Grand Marshals who will represent his company, Delaware Engine Company No. 2, in this year’s annual Port Jervis Fire Department Parade. Having spent many decades serving alongside his fellow firefighters, 42-year firefighter Hicks is honored to have been asked to serve in this position within his department’s ranks.

Hicks was born in Port Jervis on January 23, 1948.  He was raised in Port Jervis and lived all of his life in his hometown until moving to be near his family in Tennessee several years ago.  He said he has always enjoyed the Fireman’s Day Parade in Port Jervis, and is glad to have been able to make the 13-hour drive from Tennessee to be part of it again this year.

“It’s like a homecoming after being gone for four years,” Hicks said.  “I wanted to be close to my son, his wife, and my grandkids, but I do miss Port Jervis.”    

While a teen in Port Jervis, Hicks chose to leave school and enter the work force at 16.  He worked in Port Jervis all of his life. His first job was at the shoe factory (now condos), then as a carpenter, and later for Gillinder Brothers until his retirement.

While in his early 20s, Hicks also decided to join Port’s fire department.  He became a member of PJFD and Rescue 3 on November 9, 1981.  He served with Rescue 3 until it disbanded several years ago, and then moved his membership to the adjoining Hammond Street company, Delaware Engine Co. No. 2.  

Some of the members who were in Rescue 3 when he joined were Charlie Decker, Joe Michulsky, and Dick Galloway.  He had close ties with his original company members, as he does with his current company.  While in Port Jervis this week, Hicks is enjoying staying with his company Captain Tyler Kowinsky and the Kowinsky Family.  Hicks’ son Josh Hicks, like Bob, was also a member of Fowler Rescue and Salvage No. 3 who moved to and remains a member of Eng. 2.  

Over the years, Hicks served as an officer in his company, including as Vice President and President.  He remembers many calls and responses he assisted with during his years as a Port Jervis firefighter.  These include several major fires on upper Pike Street, flooding calls and pumping basements while watching river conditions, car accidents, and the Neversink Lumberyard fire.  He says he has always enjoyed being a firefighter and being able to help out in the town in which he lived.

“It’s like another job, but you’re not getting paid for it. It’s a brotherhood.  You want to help your neighbor, and that’s what keeps it together,” Hicks said.  “Everybody needs help at times, and you just have to want to be a volunteer and help out those who need help.”  

Hicks is enjoying all of the pre-parade preparations and events of this week, and is really looking forward to the July 8th parade.

“My kids and grandkids weren’t able to come up from Tennessee, but they think it’s great, too. They told me to be sure to get pictures,” Hicks said.  “It will be like many other parades, but Port Jervis Fire Department is a good department, and to me this is a real honor.”




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SHARON SIEGELSenior Correspondent

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