The High Banks Volunteer Fire Service started its tenth anniversary celebration with a fund raiser, the fourth annual Bike-a-Thon which took place in the early morning of Sunday, February 11, 2018. Twenty four people met at 7am at the fire house to register in order to start the ride promptly at 8am. They had the choice of riding the thirty miles to Sandy Point or to do stretches of ten or twenty miles. Bikers did not have to pay a registration fee, but they had been told to ask for sponsorship money.
While waiting for the bikers to return, Lauren Riviere gave a brief history of the High Banks Volunteer Fire Service which was created when the present Fire Chief, Bruce Smith, became interested in firefighting and decided that a fire station was needed in the area. He attended meetings with Rex Albury and Brother Bob Cornea in Casuarina, following which Brother Bob donated to Bahama Palm Shores an old Chevy truck called “Slow Mo” holding 1200 gallons.
The old truck that was housed under a tarp deteriorated rapidly and Bruce made the decision to look for a more reliable vehicle. A Ford 800 Tanker holding 1800 gallons was found and purchased, duty waved by former Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham.
The truck arrived in June of 2008 with hoses and other equipment donated by Treasure Cay, Marsh Harbour and Casuarina Fire Departments.
A Fire House was then needed.
In 2009, a lease on a one acre track of Crown land was granted on Sea Grape Drive and in 2008 the High Banks Volunteer Fire Service was officially established. Through all the proceedings of acquiring the truck and creating a cash flow to build the fire house, the residents of Bahama Palm Shores readily supported the project financially. Even the building itself was done by men volunteering at weekends while women were seen bringing them snacks, lunches and materials.
Since then they have finished building the 1300 square foot fire house/ community center, maintained the truck and equipment and purchase a bush truck, as well as most important of all, contributed in helping put out several fires including the last one in the Mudd.
By noon, the vehicles bringing back the riders were arriving with the riders being greeted by James Albury, Member of Parliament for Central and South Abaco along with his wife Tessa.
Photographs were taken in the large driftwood frame constructed by members of the community under the supervision of Mrs. Mary Chamie.
When all the riders had returned, the food lines opened and soon people were enjoying a meal prepared by Chaka Sunders with Chaka Catering.
Some bikers were rewarded with decorated bottles painted by Lavonda Smith; one went to Melanie Rees for the most funds collected; Dave Nulock received his bottle for being the oldest biker and Maddox Pinder for being the youngest one.
Bruce Smith thanked everyone for their support; he said he was happy to serve the community and will remain Fire Chief as long as they want him to.
Many volunteers helped setting up the room, John and Francoise Hedden, selling the tickets, Lauren Riviere, the drinks and desserts, Veronica Saunders, not to forget to mention the Cheerleading Ladies, Cindy Pinder, Beth Stevas, Stephanie Bowers and Janeene Roesler, who handed out drinks and fruits to the riders along the road as they took their ten miles breaks..
Another celebration, “Country Night, Country Life,” will take place on March 24. Everyone is to bring a pot luck dish, keeping in mind the country theme. Lively music will also be played.