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Garden State Horse Show Remembers Dr. Robert C. Rost With Donation To Branchville Fire House

AUGUSTA, NJ—April 15, 2003— In addition to their regular contribution to Centenary College and its scholarship fund, this year The Garden State Horse Show, held April 30 – May 4 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, NJ, will also be making a donation to the Branchville Hose Company #1 in memory of Dr. Robert C. Rost.

Dr. Rost, a long time resident of Branchville and a member of the Branchville Volunteer Fire Company from 1959 to 1972, was an integral part of the Garden State “family” of judges and course designers. Rost, one of the first professional course designers in the United States, was also influential in the use of metal jump cups, wing standards, measured distances, and electric timers. His absence will be sorely missed by everyone at the Garden State Horse Show.

What many people in the horse community may not have known about Dr. Rost was his participation in the volunteer fire company, a relationship that was strong in the early years. In the later years his veterinary practice grew and kept him answering calls while the horse shows often drew him to different parts of the country.

When Rost became a member in 1959 The Branchville Hose Company #1 boasted about 25 members was already a strong presence in the town. The Company was organized on January 14, 1910 and the first piece of motorized equipment was a fire truck purchased in 1924. That truck currently resides in the fire house as a part of the Company’s history and awaits the necessary funds for restoration.

The original “modern” one-bay firehouse was built in 1938 in the center of town, but as the area grew and the company slowly acquired more trucks, they outgrew their house and built a two-bay station house at their current location on the other side of town. The company now has five trucks and 35 members ranging in age from 18 to 83.

Joe Barthel, a member since 1957 remembers when Dr. Rost was a part of the company. He said, “He was a good fireman. He was a strong member and active in the early years. He was a go-getter. If there was a fire he wanted to get in there.”

It was during that time the company would see about 20 calls a year. Today, the company sees around 100 calls in a territory covering the small town of Branchville and parts of Frankford Township.

Another member, Allen Wood, 83, also remembers working with Dr. Rost. He recalled a hay fire at the Tanis property on Route 206 that Dr. Rost drove the pumper to. He also remembers Dr. Rost manning the truck at the Sussex County Farm and Horse Show. Wood was born in Branchville and has lived there except for the four years he served in WWII. He is proud to say his father was also a member of the fire company and his son continues the family tradition. Wood will have dedicated fifty years to the company this year.

Without volunteers like Joe Barthel, Allen Wood, and Dr. Robert Rost the Branchville Hose Company #1 would not have seen the progress it has over the years and could not have become an important part of those living people living in the community.

The Company obtains some funding from the town but relies heavily on contributions and fund raising. The Garden State Horse Show is proud to show its support of the Fire Company and remembers Dr. Rost on this 52nd year of showing.

The Garden State Horse Show will return April 30 – May 4, 2003 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, NJ. For more information on the Garden State Horse Show call (508) 698-6810.


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