Tuesday, June 23, 2015

14-year-old Volunteer Firefighter, Rogers Smith

How would you react if you woke up one day and all of the young men in your town were just gone? What would you do?

Sarah and Rogers.
For Rogers Smith, a 14 year old during WW2, it meant volunteering for the local Fire Department. Smith tells us that whenever he and his other firefighter friends heard the bell at the Fire Station go off while they were in school, they would have to get up during class and run down the street to hop on the Firetruck driven by a local pastor.

The school he went to in Churchill was also affected as one day the Principal of the school didn't show up as he joined the war effort as well! A retired principal from around town came in to hold the place of the principal who was serving overseas. Male teachers who enlisted or were drafted were replaced by retired female teachers, who provided a wonderful education for the students in school.
During this time most of the young men were not here in small towns or big cities, the young and the old would have to take their places. Communities were very tightly knit, and during these war times, everybody would do their best to help each other out.

Rogers is also a Washington College Alumni, class of 1951. He petitioned the school to live on campus when he was 17. He had to do this because he really wanted to live on campus, even though housing on campus was very limited as many GIs were coming back to school. Washington College has always been a small school, so to have such an influx in students coming from all sorts of backgrounds, everyone was really doing whatever they could. From building barrack like housing where Toll now stands, making dorms in the basement of the gym, the college was getting everything ready to keep the bustling college running. Rogers was able to get on campus housing, and lived in West Hall. He enjoyed going to school and loved to talk about Washington College.

-Sarah Graff (duo interview with Nick Coviello)

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