The Gerry No. 5 Veteran Fireman's Association was established in 1956 in John Banks' cellar by a group of like-minded Headers that wanted to preserve the Gerry No. 5 Handtub and enjoy each other's company in a place dedicated to the history of firefighting and practice philanthropic pursuits such as sponsoring scholarships for high school seniors, and provide assistance to sick children and their families. The Doliber Family donated the land the Gerry 5 VFA currently sits on and are still proud members along with many of the Marblehead and Gerry No. 5 founding families.
The Gerry #5 handtub was built for Marblehead by Hunneman & Co. of Boston and was delivered to the town on July 1, 1845. It is named after Marblehead native Elbridge Gerry, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Governor of Massachusetts and the fifth Vice President of the United States.
It fought its first fire at Roundy's Mill on November 2, 1845 and was retired from active service in 1890. The Gerry #5 hand tub has been participating in fireman's musters competitions since the early 1900's.
Muster competitions originated when two hand tubs would compete against each other to settle the argument of which crew was the best. The first formal fireman's muster was held in Bath, Maine on July 4, 1849. Originally. the winning hand tub was the one which pumped the highest stream of water, but measurement was difficult and disputes were numerous. The rules were changed to the current format: the object is to pump a stream of water the longest horizontal distance. Musters are still held each summer throughout New England.
Besides offering a great social environment, we also serve the community.
The Gerry is the proud sponsor of the annual Horribles Parade held every July Fourth. This long-time Marblehead tradition draws hundreds of children dressed in costume, parading with homemade floats through downtown. Prizes are awarded and no child leaves empty-handed.
The Gerry holds its popular Kids’ Christmas Party held each December where the children are treated to lunch, a gift from the Gerry, and a visit from Santa Claus, who arrives via fire truck.
We proudly offer 15 scholarships each year to high school seniors to assist them with their college education.
We are the proud sponsors of the Angel Fund that provides assistance to sick children and their families when times are the toughest.
We also hold member events throughout the year, such as our Annual Craft Fair each November, Comedy Nights, and Meat and Trivia Contests throughout year. These are are not only entertaining but provide support for these efforts and many others.
We sponsor a Golf League, Softball Team, and many other activities all in order to "give back" to the community.
The Function Hall includes a full kitchen and is available for rental by the public as well as members.
Many of our activities are designed as fundraisers to support our philanthropic efforts. We support and participate in numerous charitable fundraisers such as the Firefighters Cooking for a Cure that raises funds for MS. We support local schools, police, and firefighters.
The American Red Cross holds blood drives at the Gerry three times a year.
We will display when we have some.