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Mico VFD marks 50th year of BBQ

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Courtesy photo
The Certificate of Incorporation in November of 1963.

Head on down to Medina Lake this Saturday and drive until the savory odor of barbecue wafts past your nose! Mico VFD will mark its 50th annual fundraising barbecue this Saturday, May 10, at the fire station. The department received its Certificate of Incorporation from the State of Texas on Nov. 20, 1963. Once chartered, the fundraising began in order to have equipment and training to protect the residents served by the department.
Serving begins Saturday at 11 am and continues to 4 pm. Plates of barbecued brisket and chicken for $8 will include potato salad, beans, bread, condiments and tea. Enjoy your meal at the firehouse or pick up your plates to go from a convenient outside booth.
Mico's main station is located at 7121 CR 271 near the dam on Medina Lake, which is why they refer to their home base as the "best little fire station by a dam site!"
If there's room in the tummy, you can satisfy your sweet tooth with some goodies from the bake sale, or take something home to enjoy later. A silent auction and a drawing for a wide variety of prizes may also tempt you to generously support the volunteer fire fighters.
Mico VFD grew out of the dedication of many Medina Lake businessmen, landowners and weekend residents. When there was a fire, they called each other up and went out to fight it. It's claimed that one day in the early 60s Col. Jim Skarda told Alton Seekatz, "You know, Alton, I'm getting tired of fighting these fires with burlap sacks!"
The fledgling department held its first meetings in an old schoolhouse, but a donation of land by Seekatz; donations of money, materials and services; and lots of willing hands soon led to the construction of the department's first firehouse in the summer of 1962, complete with two truck stalls, a big kitchen and a shaded area outdoors.
Early members included Col. Elbert M. Weeks, president; Charlie Berger, vice president; Margaret Weeks, secretary; and Stan Benson, fire chief. Other members included Sunny Marshall, WS Miller, Danny O'Connell and Seekatz. A ladies auxiliary included Viola Dugosh, Mabel Berger and Eloise Skarda, in addition to the wives of the male department members.
Ann and John Dale have participated in MVFD activities for many years. "We were just weekenders for a long time," recalled Ann, "but it was impressive to us, moving out from the city, to see the kind of cooperation the community had for the fire department."
Ann said everyone pitched to support the department, including her. "We had just moved out here in 1986 and there were so few men available, especially during the week when so many of them had to work. So Barbara Bauml and I decided we would learn to drive the fire trucks."
Red Taylor, the department's 84-year-old fire chief at that time, offered to give the two women truck driving lessons. "Barb would drive those very old, very difficult to drive trucks up to Hilltop, and I would drive back," said Dale. "We never really learned anything more than to drive the truck, though!"
One of the vehicles the department owned in its earlier days was a WWII brush hog. "It was the most useful vehicle because it could go anywhere through our rough country," recalled Dale. "I had to drive it one time. The steering wheel was so big, I had to reach through it to reach the gear shift. I decided I didn't want to ever drive that one again!"
In those early days, the volunteers spent more time keeping their old equipment running than they did training. Today, MVFD is equipped with modern vehicles and the firefighters are well trained, said Dale.
The Mico VFD has served as the heart of its community, being a nutrition center for a time, qualifying for a beer license, and hosting bingo.
In 1978 and again in 1999, the department purchased additional acreage for expansion. In 1993, taxpayers approved the establishment of the Medina County Emergency Services District #1 which entered into a partnership with the VFD to provide fire services.
The department recently dedicated its newest station, the Alton & Lema Seekatz Station, as it continues to grow to serve the community.
Local residents named to honorary membership in the department include George and Dorothy Monk, Tom and Jackie Shockey, Ed and Bea Knight, Alton Seekatz, Bill and Maggie Finley, Ken and Fern Smith, Jack Love and Martin Davis.
Board members serving in 2014 are Jim Wilbourn, president; Al Bishop, vice president; Mark Suwienski, fire chief; Fran Price, treasurer; and Bo Shaw, secretary.