Dutchman Creek VFD Dedicates New Substation

A very special event took place June 3 at Lake Wateree. After years of planning, the Dutchman Creek Volunteer Fire Department’s new substation, at the junction of River Road and Wateree Road, was completed and a dedication ceremony took place. The station was dedicated to the memory of one of the original founders of the DCVFD, Malvina Moore. Most of you living in the Lake Wateree area either knew Miss Malvina personally or were aware of her and her accomplishments. For those who did not have the pleasure of knowing this remarkable woman, let me tell you a little about her.

Moore was born in Columbia in November of 1907 to Malvina Burns Washington and George Washington into a family of 14 children. She was daughter number seven and child number 13 born to the couple. Her father was employed by Southern Railroad as a Pullman porter. He moved the family to Asheville when Malvina was 8 years old, and three years later to Fairfield County where Moore spent the rest of her life. She graduated from Benedict College in Columbia with a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and did post-graduate studies at the state college in Orangeburg and USC.

Malvina met her husband Roosevelt Moore when she was age 14 and he was 18 and they married six years later on Valentine’s Day in 1927. They were married for 56 years, until Roosevelt’s death in 1983. Miss Malvina was a teacher and principal for 10 years at the Biddle School, for six years she taught at Camp Welfare, 12 years at Griffin School, 13 years at Mitford and two years at Great Falls Elementary in Chester. She retired after 43 years of teaching but continued as a substitute teacher for eight more years. She was a devoted Christian and longtime member of the Rock Hill Baptist Church.

Moore was one of the founders of the DCVFD, incorporated April 1, 1985, was on the steering committee and a member of the board. She was a volunteer and a member of many organizations in Fairfield County, among them the Homemakers Club, a charter member of the Wateree Home Owners Association and a key figure in having a voting precinct established at Dutchman Creek. Moore was well known for her involvement in civic, political and church activities. She served barbecue at the July fourth DCVFD fundraiser for many years and was voted 2008 all-time volunteer. As busy as this lady was, she still found time to be an Avon salesperson for 30 years. In 1991, the Wateree Home Owners Association nominated her as the most influential black female in the lake area. Moore passed away Jan. 2, 2008, just two months past her 100th birthday.

 The 3 p.m. ceremony began with a welcome to all, the introduction of elected officials and the Pledge of Allegiance. Honored guests in attendance were County Council Chairman David Ferguson, vice chairman Dwayne Perry and Mr. Tony Hill. Others representing Fairfield County were Shirley Greene, Chairperson of Fairfield County Disabilities & Special Needs Board and Terry Vickers, President of the Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce. Greene surprised Chief Ned Gwin with a plaque of thanks for the firefighters at DCVFD. Chief Gwin introduced each of the volunteer firefighters from the Dutchman Creek station. Pastor Ronald Gregory of the Lake Wateree Baptist Church gave the invocation and blessing. Many of the family members of Malvina Moore were in attendance and introduced; some came from as far away as New Jersey. The cutting of the ribbon was done by Chairman Ferguson, Vice Chairman Perry, Chief Gwin and the Dutchman Creek firefighters.

A cake decorated by Sweet Dreams Custom Cakes at Bi-Lo, with the fire department logo, was served with soft drinks. A table held Moore’s plaque and miniature fire trucks belonging to the father of fireman Dick Lehnhoff, some dating back to the early 1920s. Her plaque reads: “In loving memory of Malvina M. Moore, 1907-2008. Founder, Devoted Advocate & Matriarch. Dutchman Creek Fire Department, Lake Wateree, SC.”

A study showed the new substation will take approximately 170 structures from an ISO rating of 10 to a rating of 5. Only 10 percent of the fire departments in the United States have a better rating than that of a 5. It will also result in improved response time for those living north of the Dutchman Lane station. The time line for the new station started in June of 2008 with a completion date of May 8, 2012. The new station has space enough for the new pumper tanker and a 2,500-gallon water tank with enough space for a future ladder truck. Later it is hoped that a bathroom, kitchen and multipurpose room will be added. The cost of the building was $72,000, of which $32,000 came from Fairfield County, $10,000 from Fairfield Electric Co-op and $30,000 from the Lake Wateree community.

“This was a joint venture of the county and the community,” Chief Gwin said.

It was a special day for the DCVFD, the residents of Lake Wateree and the family of Miss Malvina Moore. There were close to 100 people attending the dedication ceremony. And now with the new substation the firefighters are spread thin and more of them are needed. If you feel an interest in helping out, please contact Chief Gwin at the Dutchman Creek Fire Department.

In an interview I did with Miss Malvina many years ago she said to me, “It is my sincere desire to be known only as a dedicated servant of God who lives each day in love and service.”

She certainly lived her life that way and so this dedication ceremony was a fine tribute to this special lady.