For the last 60 years, August Fellows, known as Auggie to everyone in Saugerties, has served the village as a member of the C.A. Lynch Hose Company. “It’s been a long time,” says the 79-year-old.
Like many of his fellow firefighters at Lynch, Fellows pretty much had no choice but to be a firefighter. His father, Enoch Leslie, and brothers Louis and Barry were all members of the fire company. So was his grandfather, also named Enoch.
About the only Fellowses not to be part of the company were his mom, Viola, and daughter Lisa.
For Auggie, recently feted by the fire company and awarded a 60-year plaque, it’s been 60 years of love for his community.
He was born and raised in Saugerties and graduated from high school when it was at the Cahill School. He joined up in 1956, but he and his brothers had been hanging out at the old firehouse, the one across the street from the Lynch Firehouse, “since we were kids.”
During those 60 years, Auggie was chief in 1966, and for many years the company’s chief driver.
He’s also been at some of the worst fires to strike Saugerties. “I was here when all the mills burned over the years, including Sheffield’s and Cantine’s,” he said. “And a building at the lower section of Partition Street that burned more than once.”
One of the fires he remembers best is the one at the Sheffield paper mill. “A friend and I were sitting in an establishment just down the street, when a guy comes running in saying, It’s on fire,” he recalled. “We were up and out of our seats and on the scene in minutes. It was the quickest response ever.”
Auggie also was the grand marshal of the July 4 Parade. “I was riding in the car waving at the people, when the car broke down,” he says with a laugh. “And I had to walk the rest of the way. I had on this red chief’s hat so everyone knew who I was. It was fun.”
When he was away from the fire company, which wasn’t often, Auggie was an avid fisherman who liked to travel to Lake Champlain to drown a few worms. He still fishes in the Hudson and Esopus.
“I also worked at [Northeast] Solite for a lot of years and helped organize the union there,” he said. “I was a heavy machinery operator.”
Auggie and his brother Louis dug out the land for the foundation of the C.A. Lynch firehouse.
He was also an important part of the hose company’s annual Christmas Candy Run. “For a lot of years, I drove the fire truck that took Santa around town. We gave out a lot of candy, until my then-wife told me I couldn’t do it any more because I had a daughter to look after.”
Even though he no longer drove the truck, firefighters would come to his house for lunch during the candy run, when they were on the shift change between the morning and afternoon runs. “That was a great time,” Auggie said.
In addition to being a member of C.A. Lynch, Auggie is also a member of the Saugerties Fire Department, the Exempt Firemen’s Association, and the Ulster County Fire Association.
His brother Louis was a 60-year member and brother Barry a 50-year member before they passed.