Pete Lohmer recently donated the open-top truck to be used in parades and funerals for firefighters either killed in the line of duty or after they’ve retired. The Waco Fire Department Honor Guard/Pipes & Drum nonprofit organization is thrilled with the vehicle, which began its history not far from where Lohmer’s 2003 adventure began.
Dillon, a town of about 4,000 residents, bought the truck new in 1956 from an American LaFrance dealership in New York. It still has Dillon’s name on it, along with the No. 3 engine number.
Former Dillon Volunteer Fire Chief Roy Cornell remembers the truck well. Cornell spent 32 years with the Dillon Volunteer Fire Department and was fire chief from 1988 until his retirement in 2000. He now drives school buses in Dillon.
“I’m surprised it’s in Texas now,” Cornell, 76, told the Waco Tribune-Herald. “I suppose the weather’s better for it.”
He remembers driving the open-top vehicle around Dillon in temperatures well below zero degrees.
“This is better than finding out it’s in a junkyard,” he said. “I kind of grew up with that truck. That was a new truck when I was a kid in school.”
Current Dillon Fire Marshal Rick Later said Dillon is known for its fly-fishing and hunting, especially during the summer. The fire department, formed in 1905, has a large jurisdiction in southwestern Montana, probably “bigger than some states back east,” Later said.
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