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An old reliable finds a familiar new home

South Boston News / August 07, 2019
When Buckhorn volunteer firefighters decided to part ways with the department’s 1973 Chevrolet C65 Hagen tanker truck, they were surprised to get a call from the family of the vehicle maker, who reached out about acquiring the truck.

Hagen Fire Apparatus Custom Built Pumpers of Mechanicsville, owned and operated by Richard C. (Dickie) Hagen, built fire trucks all over Virginia from 1964 into the 1990s. Firefighters say Hagen’s trucks were built to last and several of them are still in service today.

Hagen’s grandson, Richard (Ricky) Hagen Kight Sr. says Hagen’s vision was to “build affordable, long lasting fire apparatus for counties that did not have a lot of money to invest, but that were in need of a reliable form of fire protection.”

In 1973, the Buckhorn Volunteer Fire Department purchased a 1973 Chevrolet C65 Hagen Tanker with a 350-gallon per minute hale pump and 1,000-gallon tank. This was one of three trucks purchased by Buckhorn VFD from Hagen. This truck remained in operation until 2012.

Earlier this year, the members of the department voted to find a new home for the long-retired truck.

Tom Herman with Old Dominion Fire Historical Society came to Buckhorn to look at the vehicle but ultimately decided that he did not have room for it in his collection. Herman shared the news on his Facebook page for the department hoped to find a good home for the truck. Kight saw the post and knew then that he had to have the truck.

Kight sent an email to Kevin Greene, treasurer for the Buckhorn VFD, to express interest in acquiring the tanker. Kight explained that he is a fourth-generation firefighter who currently works as a career firefighter in Chesterfield County. He went on to say that he has two sons ages 5 and 6 who both dream of becoming firefighters. Being able to have a tanker built by his grandfather, the boys’ great-grandfather, would mean the world to him, Kight wrote in the email. Hagen passed away when Kight was 12 years old.

Kight explained that he recently built a garage and his wish was to be able to restore one of his grandfather’s trucks with his sons. Kight added that he wants to bring such a truck back to its “former glory” to honor his late grandfather. Kight said he talks to his sons all the time about their great-grandfather Hagen, so that his sons will know their family heritage and keep Hagen’s legacy alive.

Being able to restore the truck with his sons would be a rewarding experience, Kight continued, because it would “instill what was instilled in me at a young age, which is to have pride in your work, and to value where you come from.” He went on to say that the sentimental value of the truck far exceeds any monetary value that could be put on it.

Kight, along with his mother and family, met with members of the Buckhorn Volunteer Fire Department to look at the truck. On hand for Buckhorn were Fire Chief Jimmy Callahan, and the only two remaining charter members of the department, Lawrence Ray Greene and Wes Jones.

The department agreed to donate the truck to Kight and his family at no charge. He assured members of Buckhorn that they would be more than welcome to come visit and observe the truck any time. The fire truck was transported to Kight’s garage on June 10 with the help of Gary Robertson of Union Level Land and Timber. Robertson donated his time, along with his truck, to make the delivery to Kight’s home in Mechanicsville.

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