A 103-foot aerial, which was built in its home town, was dedicated on Saturday by the Nesquehoning Hose Company No. 1.

The truck was built by the KME Corporation, located about a mile away from the fire company.

One of the speakers at the event, State Representative Doyle Heffley, remarked, "When folks in China want to buy a good truck, the come half-way around the world to KME in Nesquehoning. Here, they just go to the other end of town."

KME, a division of the Kovatch Corporation, is the second largest fire truck manufacturing company in the United States. It builds apparatus that is shipped to various other countries including China.

There were numerous highlights to the program, including the ceremonial Christening of the truck by Fire Chief John McArdle and borough resident Ann Fauzio, and the housing of the new aerial/engine combination. Fauzio was chosen to christen the vehicle because of her long-time dedication to the fire company, especially with fund raisers, and because "whenever she hears the tones go off, she always says a prayer that the boys return safely."

One other highlight was the surprise presentation of a large plaque to McArdle. Throughout the program, there were numerous comments about McArdle's commitment and dedication; the amount of work McArdle did to secure the funds for the new truck, his help with drawing up specifications for the new vehicle, and his work in general with the fire department.

As the program was concluding, members of the fire department presented the huge plaque to the surprised chief.

The dedication program was held on the fire company grounds along Route 209 at the western end of the borough. Preceding the dedication was a truck parade consisting of dozens of pieces of apparatus from Carbon, Lehigh, and Schuylkill counties.

The fire chief said the new vehicle replaces a 1981 Seagreaves which has a 100-foot ladder.

The fire company received a grant totaling $617,500 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grants program. With the assistance of the borough council, it also obtained a 10-year, $180,000 loan.

The guest speaker at the program was Donald Leshko, Hazleton fire chief and a former employee of KME.

Leshko told about the "brotherhood" that exists among volunteer firefighters.

He told his peers, "Our job to our citizens is to give them the greatest protection we can."

He also mentioned the importance of having good equipment and good leadership.

The speaker mentioned his work background at the local KME plant. He added that the truck parade had at least 15 pieces of KME apparatus, adding, "That's a true testament to the Kovatch Corporation."

McArdle remarked, "This is a very proud moment in the history books of the fire company." He said the aerial truck is only the eighth new piece of equipment purchased in the company's 105 year history.

One of the things the new truck does is combine two pieces of apparatus, the chief said. "The old school said a ladder was a ladder and an engine was an engine." He said the members of the fire company worked together and devised plans for a truck which is both an aerial and an engine.

He told the gathering about the commitment of the volunteers, stating there are 17 members presently certified as drivers for the new truck.

Honorable Judge Roger Nanovic Jr. commented that firefighers "are the minutemen today." He told about their great commitment.

"Why do they do it?" he asked. "I think they do it because they love the community. The want to help their fellow neighbors. They want to protect their family."

Carbon County Commissioner Wayne Nothstein paid tribute to the Kovatch Corporation, noting that the firm allows its employees to leave work to respond to fire emergencies.

Serving as master of ceremonies was Nesquehoning Mayor Kenneth "Tony" Walck.

Nesquehoning Boy Scout Troop 744 participated in the flag raising ceremony.

The invocation and benediction were offered by Vicar Ben Siebert and Father Pat Schoenauer, who also blessed the new truck.