Firehouse.com Online Exclusive

Texas Firefighters Display Their Pride with Handmade Tables

Wylie Fire Rescue’s size has increased over the years, but the department’s sense of teamwork and family has remained. A three-dimensional reminder of that camaraderie is evident in the distinctive dining tables designed and constructed by members of all ranks at each firehouse.

The tradition began in 2009 when the department’s newest home, Station 3, was under construction. While team members were housed in temporary quarters, they decided to create a table as a central gathering point to honor their new station. They purchased a bare wood table, disassembled it, sanded it, stained it, and decorated the top with the Maltese Cross and ISO-1 decals, along with the station’s opening date and a proud red “3.”

The other two stations followed suit, and the designs varied. Decals incorporated pride and patriotism: a “never forget” sticker with the number 343 commemorating first responders lost in the 9/11 attacks, and individual firehouse symbols. Coins honoring the department’s 100th anniversary, celebrated in 2009, were imbedded on one tabletop. 

One table incorporated out-of-commission Wylie fire hydrants from the 1950s and 1960s as legs. Designed by Firefighters E.J. Owens and Brandon Storm, the bonnets were removed to shorten the height of the table (otherwise bar stools would have been needed). They sandblasted the hydrants, then Firefighter Brad Campbell primed and painted them and secured chrome chains for the caps. He also stenciled Maltese Cross designs on the mahogany bases for Firefighter Billy Bradshaw to cut out. As many as 30 coats of polyurethane were applied to the tabletops and at least 10 on the bases with sanding in between applications.

Anywhere from 15 to 25 firefighters had a hand in the creation and customization of the tables. Firefighter Clayton Jones, who helped build the tables at Stations 1 and 3 said, “We wanted something that would be meaningful to the members of the department, but also something that would give a sense of our history to visitors when they come to tour the stations or for kids’ birthday parties that we sometimes host. We wanted something we could be proud of.”

“We certainly put a lot of pride and ownership into the table at Station 1,” Bradshaw said. “We wanted a table not only symbolizing our own department but something that would commemorate our pride in America’s armed forces as well.

“We had fun building them, and it was something we all did together as a team.”

JUDY TRUESDELL is a communications specialist at the City of Wylie's public information office.

Loading