Millsap VFD celebrates its own with bell ceremony

Posted Tuesday, Nov. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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As the sun shone brightly above, a crowd of about 50 gathered at the Millsap Volunteer Fire Department Saturday to thank one of its most beloved members on what would’ve been his 93rd birthday.

With his surviving wife, son, daughter and sister in attendance, a bell in honor of Odell C. “Bill” Guess was unveiled. The brass bell, weighing approximately 100 pounds, will now remain outside the VFD.

“Dad would have been humbled by this but he would’ve been very proud,” said son Tony Guess. “He loved this community and this will be a lasting memorial.”

Bill Guess graduated from Millsap in 1939 and enlisted in the Navy. He served seven years, three and a half of those in a Chinese prison camp after the fall of Corregidor in 1942. After his discharge, he returned to Parker County, married his wife, Dot, and became a rural mail carrier for the next 35 years in Millsap. He was also an active member of the Millsap VFD.

Bill Guess was also “instrumental” in the effort to get a new fire truck for the department in the late ’70s, Tony Guess said. He added that the idea for the bell came from his mother in the spring and that it was commissioned shortly after that and delivered.

Assistant fire chief Jeff Edwards thanked the Guess family and also the many volunteers in the department.

“This bell will remind everyone of the dedication of the fellow and former founding members of the department,” Edwards said.

After the bell - which was covered by a fireman’s jacket - was unveiled, Edwards read the names of 20 people who had served in the Millsap VFD who were deceased. The bell was then rung once, as is tradition in fire departments, by family members of that volunteer. If no member of the deceased’s family was present, fire chief Neil Doss rang the bell. Bill Guess’ daughter, Susie, did the honors for him.

Immediately following, James Hisey, a bagpiper from the Irving Fire Department Pipes and Drums who lives in the Greenwood area, played Amazing Grace.

“Every community needs something to rally around and Millsap is not an exception,” Tony Guess said. “This was a spectacular day.”

Millsap Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s been happening since the 1950s and there are no plans for it to stop.

The annual Millsap Thanksgiving Dinner will take place this Sunday and while the reason to host it may be somewhat different, the spirit isn’t changing.

Jeff Edwards, assistant fire chief with the Millsap VFD, said because of the VFD joining with ESD No. 7, it can now use the funds it raises for scholarships and other community needs.

“This is going to allow us to donate to the many boys and girls athletic booster clubs, FCCLA and other area clubs who need the money,” he said. “We will also be able to help contribute to a $1,000 scholarship fund for a Millsap student.”

The dinner includes all the traditional fixings of Thanksgiving and the community is still asked to bring desserts. The Millsap High School Beta Club will also host a cupcake contest with prizes for Best Tasting Cupcake, Best Appearance and Ultimate Cupcake. Contestants are asked to bring eight cupcakes: two for judging appearance and six for auction. Contest begins at noon and the auction begins at 12:30.

Also new this year, the annual FCCLA Craft Fair will be held the same day in the gym while the dinner is going on in the cafeteria at Millsap Elementary School. Both the dinner and fair begin at 11 a.m. and end at 2 p.m.

Millsap Elementary School is located at 101 Wilson Bend Road in Millsap.

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