GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCT) — With a goal of properly transporting firefighters to their final resting places, Sean Quinby created Last Alarm Foundation of North Carolina. The idea for the foundation came when he became the proud owner of a 1942 Ford fire truck.
It was a gift from a retired Air Force radar operator who had owned the truck for more than ten years.
“The truck itself actually has heritage here in Wayne County. It’s the very first fire truck to ever serve on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base,” said Quinby, who also currently serves as the fire chief on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
Now he is focused on raising $50,000-$75,000 to rebuild the vintage vehicle.
Quinby said that the man who gave him the truck wanted it to be useful in some form. He didn’t want the truck to go to waste, so Quinby promised that it wouldn’t.
“I thought about restoring it. But at the end of the day if I restore it, it just sits there and people look at it. It does not continue to serve the community,” said Quinby.
Through Last Alarm Foundation of North Carolina, Quinby hopes to honor firefighters and their families by offering to use the truck in funeral processions. The fire truck is not only necessary for honoring firefighters but could serve as a more practical option than modern fire trucks.
“I’ve been to way too many firefighter funerals where fire trucks these days aren’t designed to carry the caskets, the remains of our fallen firefighters. They’re just not built like that,” Quinby said.
Quinby knows several firefighters that were involved in the response to 9/11. Many of them relocated to North Carolina and now that they aren’t members of a fire department, they may not get the same ceremonious send-off when they die.
“When they pass on, who will take them to their final resting place?” Quinby said.
As the fire chief on a military base, Quinby may not be transported to his final resting place the way he would like. Government fire trucks are not allowed to be used for instances like a funeral procession.
Last Alarm Foundation of North Carolina has not participated in any funeral processions yet, as they are still working to raise money in order to rebuild the truck to today’s road standards. It is road-safe and does run thanks to Nahunta Fire Chief Eddie Newcomb, but in order to use the truck in funerals, improvements need to be made.
They are currently working to raise money by attending festivals with the truck to show people what their plan is. Those interested in supporting the foundation can donate to the cause through monetary sponsorships. Volunteers can donate their time to the charity by attending festivals and spreading the word. Raffle tickets are being sold as well.
“Hopefully we can rebuild and restore it into an appropriate transport for firefighters on… their last alarm,” said Quinby.