DeRidder Fire Dept Christmas Party 1950's

This photo was taken in the 1950's in the large hall that was above the City Government offices at the City Hall, corner of Shirley and Stewart Streets. My father, JB Cooley, fire chief, organized an annual Christmas Party for the families and children on the local welfare roles. We called it the Fireman's Christmas Party for the Poor Children. The fireman gathered and repaired toys throughout the year for this event. They accepted donations of food, clothing, toys and money from local people and merchants for the one night party. My father obtained a list of families that were on the local roles and each child was given several toys and each family was given clothes, food and sometimes outstanding debts or bills were paid. The items were delivered to those who could not attend so that everyone on the role got some Christmas present.
The party was held in this hall, see Christmas tree in background. The party started in the early evening, usually Friday night, with the arrival of Santa Claus. Santa and his helpers called out each child's and families names and they cam forward and accepted the gifts. Not everyone went away satisfied with what the had received, but my Dad always said that every child was going to get at least one toy or gift and some fruit and nuts.

Top Row: Left to Right .... Jimmy Mustachio - worked for the City of DeRidder and did odd jobs around town for Melvin ? - don't remember his last name.
? Chism - Don't remember his first name
G.W. Cobb - Was good friend of the Cooley family, lived down by old DeRidder High School, was in Air Force during WWII, worked at Fort Polk, manager of airport, died in airplane crash at Edgewood Boy Scout camp.
Charley Bass - Worked for City of DeRidder Water Dept., lived on Divison St.
Danny Dugas - Worked at City Welding Shop on Stewart St., married Jim Mustachio's daughter, Josephine.
Wayne Hanchey - Was son of car mechanic Jennings Hanchey.
James Jones - Brother of Booth Jones, father ran Jones Wholesale on east side of town. Jesse Rainwater - My brother Clyde gave him nickname "Drip" and everyone called him that. He worked for the city of DeRidder.
Lovette Bailey - He was a plumber in DeRidder, also worked for City of DeRidder. Luther Moses - He lived across from City Hall and Fire Station, worked for City of DeRider in water dept..
Pete Rumby - Also worked for City.
Clyde Cooley - Nicknamed "Junior", my brother, was in WWII, worked in radio and TV repair on Stewart St., drove one of fire trucks to fires.
J.B. Cooley - Was Fire Chief for many years, lived in Fire Station which was part of City Hall, corner of Stewart and Shirley Sts., JB was my father and started the annual Christmas Party for the welfare families and children.
C.W. Naylor - Was Street Commissioner of city and may have held other offices in City Government.
Sam Coward - Worked for gasoline distribution company in city, lived on Royal St. Was assistant Fire Chief.
Orville Johnson - Worked for Coca Cola and Dixie Maid Ice Cream company L.C. Kern - Owner
Booth Jones - Son of J.B. Jones, brother of James, worked in father's wholesale company and later owned Ford Tractor Co. in DeRidder.
submitted by Jimmy Cooley
Narrative by Jimmy E. Cooley
Photograph is from Ronnie Zimmerman, he sent it to me Oct. 1, 2002