My name is Jim and I grew up right here in Schuylkill Haven, PA. I’ve been married to my wife, Molly since 1995 and we have one of the coolest dogs in the world (since 2008), our miniature dachshund, Gus. I joined the Schuylkill Haven Fire Department, specifically the Schuylkill Hose Company #2, as a 14 year-old junior firefighter in 1980, worked my way up through the ranks and I am currently an Assistant Fire Chief of the borough.
Throughout my time in the fire department I have always been interested in the history of the fire service (not quite as deeply into it as some, but it’s great to know where we started and where we’re headed!). One of the things that always fascinated me was the fire alarm boxes. Next to an engine or ladder truck, the alarm box is one of the things that people identify with the fire department.
I’ve had the honor to visit the home of the late Bob Fitz of Lebanon, NH and let me tell you……he took the collecting of alarm boxes to a new level! He had, at least, six different systems connected in his basement! All of them were connected to their own ticker tape and gong. It was amazing! Different types of boxes, police, EMS, you name it. He had it! That collection now resides at the Schuylkill Historical Fire Society in Shenandoah, PA.
I learned basic woodworking from my father while working for him in his construction business for 12 years. I worked for about 1 ½ years at a cabinet shop in the Reading, PA area where I learned more about the production end of woodworking. The company built cabinetry for retail stores all around the world. I left there and went to work for my uncle in the printing industry as a customer sales representative in the Harrisburg area. After my father’s death in 1997, I returned to the construction business working for a friend from high school. In 1999, his business was bought by a pole building company and I have been with Pioneer Pole Buildings for the past 14 years.
In 2004, after three years of working nights, weekends and using my vacation time to remodel, we moved into the home where I grew up. It’s been great to be back “home” and this fall will be ten years since we moved into our house.
I currently work out of my garage/shop and I am constantly looking to upgrade equipment and improve the shop to make it a more functional workspace.