The fire service can be challenging, as well as rewarding. I believe that no matter how long you are a member (and I have been a member since 1968), you can never say, "I have seen it all!" While many alarms are routine, eventually you use your training and skills to cope with a situation that you have not encountered before.
Roger Ketcham
Department Treasurer,
Hose Rescue Co.

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Halesite Mourns the Loss of Ex-Chief John H. Newell, Jr.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Halesite Fire Department mourns the loss of Ex-Chief and 73-year member John “Butch” Newell, Jr. He passed away yesterday at the age of 94.

Butch was the second of three generations of Halesite Chiefs. He followed his father into the volunteer fire service in 1935, joining Halesite when he was 17. He worked his way up the ranks of the Engine Company and eventually reached the office his father held, Chief of Department, in 1954. His son John Newell, III would later become Chief in 1988.

Butch’s term saw serious fires at residences on Ft. Hill Road and Harmony Road. He was also in charge at a fire that destroyed an abandoned casino on the grounds of the Huntington Crescent Club in 1953. In 1955, Butch was awarded the McAuliffe medal for his efforts to rescue a distraught man who drove his car into Huntington Harbor at the Town Dock in Halesite. Butch had the presence of mind to grab one of Halesite’s Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) air packs before he dove in. He helped free the driver from the submerged car and bring him to the surface.

Born in Brooklyn on July 21, 1917, his family later moved to Halesite where a young John Newell immediately became part of the Halesite Fire Department family through his father, John Newell, Sr. Like many in his generation, Butch took a break from volunteering in the fire service in order to serve his country during World War II. He was in the army Air Force from 1942 - 1946.

He got his nickname, “Butch”, during the time he delivered meat for a local butcher. He also worked at Huntington Coach Corporation, where he met his wife Ruth. The majority of Butch’s career was spent as a Houseman at the Halesite Fire Department – a position he held for 26 years before his retirement.

At Halesite’s 100th Anniversary in 2001, Butch was the department’s most senior firefighter with 66 years of service. In May of 2008, Butch transferred to the Lifetime Membership Company after having served a record 73 years.

Butch is pictured above during Halesite's Installation Dinner in 1951.

Services for Ex-Chief Newell will be on Sunday, April 22, 2012 at the A.L. Jacobsen Funeral Home in Huntington Station from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Firematic services will be held on Sunday at 8:00 pm.




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