Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thomas Fina Fireman grandson Mabel Olyer

Sometimes when we research families we uncover facts that can move you to the very core.
The genealogy research on Henry Lewis Olyer family led me to Narcotics, Bootlegging,and the Welfare Trains a period when the hearts of America turned a little cold-families were driven by the inability to provide for there children to give them to others who would transport them to other parts of the country were they could be brought up in better surroundings. The idea was sound enough it started with the homeless street kids of Boston and New York City. But the inability for women to compete for decent wages in the pre crash years of 1929 left one of Henry's daughters Mabel Estell Olyer wife of Maricle Furlong, destitute married at age 17. By the age of 23 she found herself in North Carolina, abandoned with four infant children and no income-
The four children were placed on a welfare train to Kansas. One of these girls was Isabel Furlong born 1911, left on the train before 1918, one of the very fortunate children, she was allowed to keep in touch with her biological mother Mabel and when she came of age returned to Saranac Lake, New York were she married Pasquale Fina, they lived in Saranac Lake and had 5 children .
One of these boys Thomas Fina was born 12 Apr 1933, the youngest of the family.
Attended high school in Saranac, and was an outstanding athlete being well known speed skater who in 1951 won championship in the National Intermediate class. He joined the National Guard, and a member of the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department.

Thomas Fina age 21 years, a member of "Saranac Volunteer Fire Department" killed instantly shortly after midnight. Responding to the alarm he "Tom" jumped off the truck and with chemicals put out the fire, Then he turned and saw Floyd Burton holding a sputtering power wire away from the side of the building with the bristels of a broom. the rest of the broom not more tha 14 inches long lay on the ground, being scared for Floyd's being electicuted "Tom grabbed the broom handle and started for the wire, twisting it on the handle- in the excitement he could not hear his companions that were coming with the proper equipment. Suddenly the wire slipped and Tom instinctivly reach to stop it and there was just a gasp and he was dead. He had not taken time to put on his boots, and was standing in water. The wire carried 3800 volts. In his concern for a friend he lost his life. This could have been even more tragic, others in the growing crowd seeing Tom fall started to help him and only the quick reaction on Jim Kilroy and Fletcher Mace held others off.

The Volunteer Fire Department and the National Guard held a full military funeral for Thomas Fina. The great sacrifices made by our fire departments should be remembered by all of us each day, in an instant our lives can be changed and it is comforting to know there are individuals ready to help in our gravest monents

If you have been reading my post about this branch of the Olyer family, you might wonder why some families seem to have a full measure of tragedies.

The genealogy and history of the Olyer family is nearly ready to publish if you have any interesting stories or photos please contact me we will try to include it