In 1966 John Mc Daniel was President and I John T. Babcock Sr. was the Vice President of the New Windsor Fire Department when John asked me to pursue the forming of the Benevolent Association. The reason behind forming the Benevolent Association was that we wanted to insure that all members of our fire company were treated equal in the time of need. If you were a very popular member and you were in need the membership would have a fund raiser for the members family. They would raise a substantial amount of money to give to the family. If you were not so popular , just a member, they would have a fund raiser and wouldn’t raise as much as they did for the popular member. In order to treat all members equally John decided that we should pursue forming a Benevolent Association. John asked if I would take on this project.
It all began with contacting our Assemblyman, the Honorable Daniel Becker to get the legislation necessary to submit to the State Legislator’s in Albany for their approval of our Benevolent Association. After many meetings with Assemblyman Becker and his staff, the final draft of the legislation was finalized and submitted to the Legislator’s in Albany for their approval. Several months and passed and than on June 6, 1966 Assemblyman Becker called me to inform me that the Legislator’s had approved our Benevolent Association.
The fund was established to promote fraternity among our members. The fund also provided all the necessary aid to our disabled or indigent members and their families.
In the next couple of months the following members were elected, John T. Babcock, President,John J. Naclerio, Vice President, James Carlstrom, Treasurer, John Marullo, Financial Secretary and JohnMc Daniel Recording Secretary. The Board of Trustee’s were Charles Rumsey, Thomas Jones and John Crudele.
Over the next several years many fund raisers were held annually to build up the treasury to have enough funds to distribute to our members and their families in need. Some of the fund raisers in the beginning stages were, Saturday night Dances, Baskets of Cheer, raffling of a bottle of whiskey on Sunday mornings in the members room. We had a juke box in the members room and all the proceeds went to the Benevolent.The first couple of years we asked the company to donate 10% of all fund raisers that the company had each year. Well, that met with a lot of resistance from members of the company. The Officers of the Benevolent told the company that we only wanted to collect the ten percent for the first couple of years to get a fund established. The same members of the company that were resisting were members of the Benevolent Association. In the end the company approved giving the Benevolent the ten percent of all fund raisers for the year. John Babcock Sr. was nicked-named the ten-percent kid because when a fund raiser was reported at the company meeting I would asked for the ten percent for the Benevolent.
In the early stages of the formation of the Benevolent the Board of Trustees were looking for ways to give a life insurance policy to our members. Tom Scalzo a member of the Benevolent, who also was an agent for Prudential Insurance, was asked to put together a proposal for insuring all of the members of the Benevolent Association. The Board of Trustees finally agreed on a One Thousand Dollar Life Insurance Policy for each member of the Benevolent. After a couple of years the Board found out that we could not provide a death insurance policy under the law and that the policies had to be terminated.
During this period of time Bob Rodgers and I were looking into the 2% Foreign Insurance money. This money was for those property owners in our fire district who insured their homes with an insurance company from out of state. We were receiving very small checks from the out of state insurance companies and couldn’t figure out why. We began looking at those residents of our fire district, who were insured by out of state insurance companies and discovered that the mailing addresses on the policies were Newburgh New York. What was happening was that the 2 % money was being sent to the Newburgh Veterans Association instead of our fire district because of the mailing address, Newburgh New York. Then we finally got our own zip-code in New Windsor and the money which was being sent to Newburgh was being sent to our zip-code, New Windsor. The size of the checks grew steadly after the Town of New Windsor had it’s own zip-code.
Over the past Fifty Years our Officers and Trustees have done an outstanding job with overseeing and carefully distributing the Benevolent Funds. One of the best moves was to hire a Financial Adviser and Planner who have invested our funds and have put the Benevolent in a good financial shape.
This brief history was put together by John T. Babcock Sr. the first President of the Benevolent as best that he can remember.