GIRARD, PA - On June 6, 2005, A.F. Dobler Hose & Ladder Company, of Girard Pennsylvania laid to rest Louis "Snapper" Hannah, the oldest active firefighter in the United States at the age of 96. It was a day of sadness but also a celebration of someone who gave unselfishly to his community since 1936 when he joined at the age of 27. In recent years Hannah had taken over duties as fire police even though he wanted to be on the front lines.
Fire Chief for 34 years, with a small sabbatical, when called to active duty during the Korean conflict, Louis served not only his community but his country. He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII, as a firefighter at the McDill Airfield in Tampa Florida. He had also been very active as an EMT and delivered 14 babies, most of them being in an ambulance but several of them in their respective homes. Hannah had worked for the Marx Toy Model Works from 1929 until his retirement in 1972.
He had a love for motorcycles, flying, and boating, becoming the oldest crew member of the historic Flagship Niagara in 1992, sailing on a three month, 4,000 mile tour. He also was a member of the Boy Scouts of America, the Girard American Legion Post #494, a 50 year member of the Lake Erie Lodge #347 F&AM amongst other various activities he participated in. Hannah also was named firefighter of the year numerous times throughout his career.
Prior to his death, he had gotten the idea to restore a 1942 GMC antique fire engine which is currently in the process of being done and will be dedicated to Hannah upon completion.
There were hundreds in attendance for the funeral; most were firefighters, some from as far away as Fairfax County Virginia. These firefighters paid their last respects as well as many bringing apparatus for a final procession for firefighter Hannah. A caisson carried firefighter Hannah from the church, through town, one last pass by the fire house, and to the cemetery to his final resting place.
A.F. Dobler Hose members lined up gave a final salute to the person who had touched many along his and their fire and EMS careers. A full military burial, honored by his peers as well as the community, and given a fly over by Lifestar helicopter. He will be sadly missed by many and never forgotten by more.
Anyone would like to donate to the restoration fund they can send them to the Dobler Hose Co, c/o Fire Truck Restoration 12 Mechanic St. Girard, Pa 16417 in memoriam of Firefighter Louis Hannah. Girard, Pennsylvania is located about 15 miles west of Erie.