A few weeks ago, we had some friends in from out of town. We took one of those Sunset Tours that leaves from FMB. Because there were so many people on the boat, there had to be 2 captains. This was great, because we were able to have 1 captain drive, and the other narrate about the area, things we were seeing, etc. He was really entertaining. As the Sunset approaches, we took our spot out in the Gulf; everyone has their cameras ready.
The captain (to pass some time) asked everyone where they were from. I said Fort Myers, but originally Dayton. (In our family, we always said Dayton, because no one had ever heard of our little town.) He commented the same thing, and said that he was from the Bellbrook area. I said, “WOW! Such a small world, because my Granddaddy was the Fire Chief there for YEARS,” and he just looked at me, like a deer in the headlights.
He responded that he had also been the Fire Chief there and said, “I don’t think you’re one of the Knopp kids?” I told him I wasn’t. I was the granddaughter of Fire Chief Sylvester Beryl Stanley. And he was speechless. This Captain of our boat in Fort Myers Beach, had worked with my granddaddy, so many years before in Ohio, and had been trained by him. Captain Scott knew Fire Chief Stanley well and had even been at their surprise 50th Wedding Anniversary party at the firehouse. We talked for a long time, about what a wonderful guy Granddaddy was and he told me something that I never knew…that my grandfather was the first in Greene County, Ohio to hire women at the firehouse. He nearly lost his job because of it…but he got it done.
I knew my Granddaddy was awesome, but to see him through the eyes of someone else was breathtaking! Thanks very much, Fire Chief & Captain Scott Hall. You brought back such wonderful memories to us, and reminded us of what a great guy Granddaddy was and the Bellbrook Sugarcreek Fire Dept… and for a wonderful boat ride with Estero Bay Express!
Kathy Guthrie Payne
Fort Myers, FL