SOUTH CREEK TWP. - The messages were ubiquitous, but they're weren't on a Facebook page.

"Thank you for dedicating your life to saving ours!"

"Congratulations for 50 Great Years of Community Service!"

"Thank you for 50 years of time and commitment to helping others!"

Rather, they were on page after page in the program booklet for the South Creek Volunteer Fire Department's recent 50th Anniversary Banquet.

Everyone, it seems, is grateful to the fire department on its golden anniversary.

It all began back in 1962.

As the fire company's history states, "In 1962, three South Creek Township residents were discussing the fire hazards created by a long, dry summer. These people saw the need for a local fire company. Expressing this need to others, a movement developed to do something about the lack of local fire protection."

"Several exploratory meetings were held and on Oct. 7, 1962, a group of about 15 men met at the Fassett Grange Hall to listen to several invited guests speak about their experiences in firefighting. After considerable discussion, it was decided to organize a local fire company."

Dick Fulmer, president of the fire company, who attended the banquet, was happy about the fire department's 50th anniversary.

"I think it's terrific."

On a table at the fire hall in Fassett, there were two cakes in honor of the occasion while old photographs were shown on a television overhead. The officers were dressed up in their finery.

Fire Chief Matt Harkness was proud of the department on its anniversary.

"We've come a long way in 50 years," he said. "We're very proud of the service we provide to the community."

He noted that the appreciation dinner honored people who have helped the fire department.

Looking back over the years, Harkness recalled some memorable times, such as the manhunt for Dustin Briggs when the fire department was used as a command center. He also recalled the fire that destroyed the Phyl-Carlo Restaurant sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s.

Fulmer was cognizant of the fire department's valuable role in the township.

"I think we're one of the bonding units of the community," he said. "We're doing what needs to be done. And they know they can count on us, whatever their needs are."

Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: reviewtroy@thedailyreview.com.