FIREFIGHTERS MUSEUM ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR EXPANSION
Forty-nine years ago this year (2016), we opened the doors to the Museum with the help of a lot of people. Byron Hollander, OCFD, Stanley Hawkins, Tulsa, Don Froese, Enid, Bassill Tunnell, The Village, Jimmy Martin, Lawton, Clint Taylor, Tulsa, John Nidiffer, Miami, Wm. G. Maddux, Stillwater, Nathan Stufflebean, Pauls Valley, Ben Dancey, OCFD, Jack Sanders, Tulsa and Andy Miller, OCFD were all board members or past presidents of the OSFA board that were instrumental in the museum's creation and completion.
Others that had an impact as Executive Directors or Directors of OSFA were Andy Miller, Bill Liebegott, Louis Bunch, Bob Hollander, Jim Minx, David Bain, Chris Bain, Herb Bradshaw, and Phil Ostrander have all given their leadership through the guidance and direction of the OSFA boards over the past forty-nine years to make the museum the great place it is today.
In partial honor of those who have given tours over the years like Sam Oruch, John Knupple, John Esposito, Jim Sanders, Eldon Forrester, Tippy Pierce, Jimmy Edwards, Mike Billingsley, Mike Brown, and Gene Brown, it is time to continue moving forward.
The time has come for the Museum to expand. We have outgrown our current facility as evidenced by how much artifact that has been archived and stored out of view of the public. It is also a new time and a new generation. The younger children have grown up with video games and iPads and aren't nearly as interested in stuffed horses and old steamers as what tickled the imagination of an older generation when they were young. "So, its high time we evolved to spread the word of Fire Prevention through interactive displays at our museum," said Jim Minx, Oklahoma Firefighters Museum Board President.
"It is high time we evolve and take advantage of the newest technologies and combine them with the significance of fire history to make one of the best fire museums in the country into the best fire museum in the country commiserate with Oklahoma being the best fire service in the country," stated Museum Board Secretary and current OSFA Executive Director Phil Ostrander. He went on to say, "Its time that we move forward into the future to highlight the history while training our young people in fire safety in a manner that connects with them."
The proposed $5 million expansion that was announced at the OSFA convention in Lawton will double the square footage devoted to the museum, update the current portions, contain interactive displays and an event center that will be used as additional museum space when not being used for events. The initial donation of the almost $400,000 construction manager fee has provided by Clark Construction. Allen Clark, owner of Clark Construction announced to the Museum Board last March that his company would be donating their work at no charge to the museum or OSFA. This initial donation is greatly appreciated. Donations are being collected at this time and can be made to the OSFM Expansion 2716 NE 50th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73111.
Many thanks go out to the OSFA Museum Expansion Committee comprised of Mike Bower (MWC, ret) Chair, , Mike Billingsley (Nichols Hills ret), Gene Brown (The Village, ret/FF Museum Manager), Mike Caniglia (McAlester), Allen Clark (FF Museum Board), Clifford Lewis (OKC ret), Gary Marrs (OKC ret), Jim Minx (OKC ret/FF Museum Board President), Tom C. Smith (OKC ret), Richard Waltz (OSFA Honorary Life Member), and the OSFA Board, Mike Duncan, Matt Lay, Dereck Cassady, Mike Kelley and Raanon Adams.