MASSENA - When he woke up and looked out the window Monday morning, Massena Rescue Squad Chief Norm F. Worden didnt like what he was seeing.
The sky was gray and the rain was coming down and, in a few short hours, the rescue squad would be opening their doors for their 40th annual open house and radiothon.
But then, as if on cue, the skies brightened and the rain blew away about an hour before their doors opened.
I got here this morning and it was pouring down rain. When it stopped raining, the line went out the doors, Mr. Worden said.
And that, he said, translated into a successful event.
Its going excellent today. This is by far and away looking like the best weve had yet, he said.
Although the rain ended, there were at least three people who got soaking wet - Massena Police Chief Timmy J. Currier, Massena Mayor James F. Hidy and Massena Rescue Squad Rookie of the Year Nate Rogers, who found themselves on the hot seat in a dunking booth run by the squads dive team and set up behind near the squads headquarters on East Orvis Street.
Nearby, children were taking part in fun and games. At an ambulance beanbag toss, they were challenged to throw a beanbag through a window or tire of a cut out ambulance. A kids ring toss had them throwing rings and trying to loop them around filled soda bottles. Boxes of prizes were waiting for the winners of those games.
Theres a lot of happy faces at the games, Mr. Worden said.
Off to the side, BD Entertainment had set up two bounce houses for the youngsters, and visitors also had an opportunity to get a close-up look at the squads ambulances and boat.
Inside, there was a silent auction that featured some big-ticket items, such as four tickets to the New Hampshire International Speedway for a July 14 NASCAR race and four one-day park hopper passes for Walt Disney World in Florida.
Other silent auction items include a skid of wood pellets from Curran Renewable Energy; two season passes to the Mohawk International Raceway; two season passes to Clarkson mens hockey for the 2014-15 year; two season passes to St. Lawrence University mens hockey for the 2014-15 year; a 20-inch boys BMX bike and 20-inch girls BMX bike from Walmart; and a night stay at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort, with $25 Match Play and $25 Resort Rewards Card.
There was also a one-night stay at the Comfort Inn and Suites; two round-trip air fares from Massena to Boston via Cape Air; and two four-pack tickets to the New York State Fair.
It looks like the silent auction items are going well, Mr. Worden said.
The Masons were on hand, as they have been annually, with their Child ID program. Mason John Schneider said that, by early afternoon, they had done a child identification kit for 28 youngsters.
And, as it was 40 years ago when the Massena Rescue Squad held their first radiothon, WMSA radio was on hand to broadcast live. Sanford T. Cook manned the broadcast booth on Monday.
Another fixture was long-time Massena Rescue Squad member Tom Hazel, who stood on East Orvis Street with a boot in his hand, collecting donations from passing motorists.
Tom Hazel keeps the Loot the Boot going. We have to bring him food. He will not leave (his post), Mr. Worden said.
It was the first open house and radiothon for the Massena Rescue Squad since the passing of one of their charter members, Guy E. Martin, who died July 25, 2013 at the age of 88. But his daughters, Barbara J. Martin and Mary Anne Layo, wanted to make sure he was remembered. Ms. Martin, a former squad member, is now a member of the Massena Rescue Squad Auxiliary.
When dad died, we felt there should be some kind of award for dedication. We decided to start the tradition of an award, Ms. Martin said.
The first recipient of the Guy E. Martin Memorial Award was past Massena Rescue Squad President Eric D. Duchscherer for dedication, devotion to a cause or purpose, according to a plaque hanging on the walls of the Rescue Squads headquarters. The recipients also receive a plaque.
She recalled a special moment set up by Mr. Duchscherer.
When dad died, Eric said we have to do something special, Ms. Martin said.
And they did, carrying him in one of their vehicles from the church to the cemetery to the surprise of everyone except Ms. Martin, who had been approached about the idea beforehand.
The plaque, recognizing a members dedication to the ideas of emergency care, will be awarded each year in Mr. Martins honor and memory at the squads annual banquet.