Preservation Awards 2017
December 12, 2017
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Courting ‘Old Betsy’ . . . And Taking Her Home

Thomas Sorensen recently published a new book about the history of the Vermillion Fire Department (VFD) which started in 1892. In the book he describes in detail the people, fires of note that occurred in Vermillion and Clay County, and improvements in the capability of the VFD to fight fires. The book also features a timeline of the Department denoting its history over 125 years. The title of the book refers to the first motorized fire fighting vehicle that the VFD purchased in 1923, Old Betsy. This fire truck currently resides in the W. H. Over Museum in Vermillion.

The author has extensive knowledge of the VFD. According to his own account he was an active firefighter for 31 years. In 1986 when he returned to Vermillion, he was reinstated on the fire department and resumed training and active service. Tom also served as a secretary-treasurer, trustee, and a weather spotter (first trained in 1979). He became an associate member and remains on the roster of VFD fire-service instructors certified by the South Dakota Fire Marshal’s Office.

This in depth, well written and researched book contributes greatly to the history of Vermillion and Clay County. Please look under publications to access a copy of the book.