“Gilbertsville has been lucky to have the two of them in its community,” Lueck said.
In the early days, almost every weekend was spent at fire department competitions throughout the region, the release said, and the Pochys' eventual wedding date had to be selected so as not to interfere with what was called "motor-hose competition." In that era, work and late-night card games at the firehouse were the norm.
In his 21 years as fire chief, Pochy fought many fires including some big ones, according to the release, notably barn fires where the crews would spend all night battling the fire. But nowadays barn and silo fires are rare because hay and silage are kept in plastic outside.
Good enforcement of building codes has likewise cut down on chimney fires, Pochy said Sunday.
Pochy laughed when recalling changes in fire equipment, the release said. In the 1960s, the fire service had little money so they built things. A clever member put a V8 engine into a surplus army vehicle, the release said, and it worked. Split axle transmissions and double-clutch shifting have given way to automatic transmissions on trucks that drive more like big cars than army tanks.
In its prime, the Gilbertsville Fire Department had 55 members but now has barely half that number, the release said.
The Pochys suggest a reason for the decline is that people now are too busy to participate in the fire service. Another memory is of times when there would be a late-night fire alarm, the release said, and they would bundle their young son into the back seat of their car, where he would sleep while mom and dad fought to save lives and property.
Susan Pochy, a retired teacher from Cooperstown Central School who continues to substitute, said participating in firefighting services and having memories about it are a result of being "community people,” according to the release.