by Beverly Brown
Over 100 people attended the rededication of the George H. Baker Memorial Fountain in Courthouse Square in Owego on Saturday, July 29. The 86-year-old fountain, which features a statue of a fireman, underwent much needed repairs and restorations this summer.
The fountain was given to the Village of Owego and its firefighters in 1914 by Frank M. Baker as a memorial to his son, George Hobart Baker, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1913. Both men had been members and chief engineers of the Owego Fire Department.
Chief William Delahanty of the Owego Fire Department acted as Master of Ceremonies at the rededication. He welcomed everyone to the event and lead them in saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
Chaplain George Hall of the fire department thanked the Lord for the beautiful day and read the Fireman's Prayer.
Owego Fire Department Historian Dennis Reynolds spoke about the history of the fountain and his own memories of playing in it as a child while his mom shopped at the A&P grocery store across the street. Reynolds pointed out that this fountain is similar to other memorials with one exception - this one is dedicated to one individual. Reynolds explained that Frank Baker wanted a memorial "to ensure his son would never be forgotten." The fountain"is a reminder of the love Frank Baker had for his son and the fire department," said Reynolds.
John Scott, the Tioga County Fire Coordinator and Maurice Hinchey also spoke at the event. Hinchey said the memorial so appropriately depicts the strength, devotion, and tenderness that is inherent in all men and women of the fire department."
Village of Owego Mayor Barbara Fink presented photographs of the fountain to members of the Baker family including Belle Brister, Bruce Baker, Steve and Ray Baker, Linda Rought, Jane Fahl, Floyd and Shirley Kwiatkowski, Dale Williams, Sandy and Walt Pianosi, Yvonne Zimmer, Steve DuVarney, Dorothea Baker, Christopher Baker, Steve and Lee Bundy, Jim Baker, Judy Hartman, and Tom and Doreen Farrington.
The cost of renovating the memorial was paid for by a generous donation from an anonymous donor and by the Mildred Faulkner Truman Foundation. The restoration work was done by Broome Industrial. 0The George H. Baker Memorial Fountain has become a symbol of the Owego Fire Department and has been incorporated into their logo. And, as Chief Delahanty pointed out during the ceremony, the memorial fountain "has become a symbol for not only the Owego Fire Department but the community . . . and stands for the spirit of volunteerism in Owego."