Violet Township firefighters, past and present, will mark Labor Day with a celebration of 75 years of service and efforts to forge lifelong friendships in the local community.

Violet Township firefighters, past and present, will mark Labor Day with a celebration of 75 years of service and efforts to forge lifelong friendships in the local community.

Fire Chief John Eisel has been named grand marshal of the Pickerington Lions Club's 61st Labor Day parade on Sept. 7, which will take his department's "Friends for Life" motto as its theme.

Additionally, current and former VTFD firefighters will celebrate their service to the Pickerington and Violet Township communities, which began Feb. 27, 1934, when the Pickerington Volunteer Fire Department was formally established.

"We're just ecstatic that the Lions Club has chosen us to be honored at the Labor Day parade," Eisel said. "We also are going to have a float or truck that past department members are going to be able to ride, and we'll have some banners made up to recognize our 75th anniversary.

"It will be an event just to remind the community we've been here 75 years and to thank them for their support over the years."

To commemorate the occasion, past and present Violet Township firefighters, as well as their family members, will don 75th anniversary T-shirts for the parade and the day's festivities.

The department also recently distributed 200 commemorative coins featuring its insignia to past and present firefighters.

Following the parade, a private reception for the firefighters and their families will be held at Violet Township's Fire Station 591 on Lockville Road.

"We can get everybody together and reminisce over the past 75 years," Eisel said. "This is the big celebration for it."

After forming the volunteer department in 1934, the eight-man volunteer force pooled funds to purchase a used 1917 Brockway La France combination pumper, hose cart and ladder wagon. The $1,350 truck -- which came to the city after being used to fight fires on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J. -- became the area's first fire engine.

Seventy-five years later, the Violet Township Fire Department now has 45 full-time personnel and 10 part-time firefighters. Its 10-person volunteer force outnumbers the inaugural force.

The department now has 14 vehicles in its fleet, including medic and heavy-rescue units.

The last fire engine purchased cost $400,000. The department's services now include fire investigations, emergency response and car seat inspections.

Last year, local firefighters made nearly 4,400 runs.

"We've become entrenched in the community," Eisel said. "It's our community and we're proud to be a part of it. Our goal is to make it a great place to live and a safe place to live."