Treasured treasurer Dick Neidermyer honored for 50 years of volunteer fire fighting

By on January 30, 2013

By: LAURIE KNOWLES CALLANAN Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer

Ever since he was a young boy, Richard Neidermyer wanted to be a fireman.

On Monday evening, Neidermyer — better known to friends, family and fellow firefighters as Dick — was honored by the Lititz Fire Company No. 1 for his 50 years of volunteer service.

"I was fascinated by fire engines when I was a child," he recalled.

Neidermyer was 16 when he began volunteering as a junior firefighter. Even while studying business administration and accounting at Elizabethtown College, he put in countless hours at his hometown fire hall. He went on to form his own accounting firm in Lititz, which he successfully operated for 35 years, providing for his wife Shirley and their children, Rick and Wendy. Along the way, for the past half-century, he always made time for his boyhood dream. Lititz has benefited greatly from that selfless dedication.

Neidermyer served in many roles at the fire company over the years, including lieutenant, captain and assistant chief. For four years, starting in 1983, he was Lititz’s fire chief. He found his niche when he began providing his accounting services as treasurer, a position he has held, and continues to hold, for the past 25 years. Being a volunteer firefighter does not always entail rescues and burning buildings; someone has to balance the books and keep the budget in line. It’s not easy work, with all the financial challenges facing fire companies, such as fund-raising and purchasing fire engines. The cost of maintaining equipment, training and even simple necessities like utilities and upkeep of the fire hall is tremendous.

"Serving as treasurer is one of the best ways I can serve," said Neidermyer, now 66.

During a surprise 50th anniversary celebration at the fire hall, Neidermyer was presented with a beautifully designed trophy that has a fireman’s bell with an eagle at the top. The inscription honors him for his many years of service.

"We are very grateful for all that Dick has done for the fire company," said Lititz Fire Chief Ron Oettel. "Volunteer fire companies are a tradition that dates back to Ben Franklin. And here in Lititz, we have our very own tradition in Dick Neidermyer."

The man of the hour was at a loss for words, touched as he watched a steady stream of family members, neighbors and colleagues filter into the room as the fire company concluded its monthly meeting.

His wife was there, along with his son Rick and his wife Pamella and their three children, Michaella, Jaelyn and Dax. His daughter, Wendy, lives in New Jersey with husband Jim Medumick, and was unable to attend. They have two children, Morgan and Chloe. Several neighbors were also on hand, as well as Neidermyer’s sister and her family.

"I guess I can figure out who this is for," he said, slyly, when he spotted the gathering of friends and family.

Chief Oettel then announced that Lititz Fire Company No. 1 will remodel the front entrance of the fire hall on West Main Street. A small courtyard with seating is being planned, which will be dedicated to Neidermyer.

"This is really nice. I appreciate it," said Neidermyer, a tear in his eye. "It has been a pleasure volunteering all these years."

In his many years with the fire company, he still recalls some of the most serious fires that he helped battle. One was at Guion Industries in Lititz, another was at Eby’s Mill. He still remembers the fire at Sauder’s Eggs on Route 501, which required extra help from the police chief at the time to enter the second floor of the building.

Neidermyer has been owner and sole proprietor of his accounting practice for 35 years, until July 2012 when it was acquired by InSite CPAs, LLP. He continues to work for InSite on a part-time basis, doing work with small businesses, trusts and tax preparation for individuals and businesses. He is past president of the Pennsylvania Society of Public Accountants and currently serves on their board of directors. He also served as treasurer of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Lititz.

Neidermyer can’t help but smile when he thinks of one of his five grandchildren serving as a firefighter, just like grandpa. His grandson is only two, but like many little boys, he loves fire trucks.

"I would encourage it," said Neidermyer. "It would make me very proud." More NEIDERMYER, page A7