The Greater Glenside Patriotic Association (GGPA) has appointed Charles “Bud” Gerhard III, a lifelong Glenside resident, local business owner and tenured volunteer, as the grand marshal for the 120th 4th of July Parade.
Bud’s roots with the Weldon Fire Company run long and deep, as shown in the photo above which features a youthful to-be grand marshal and Weldon Fire Company’s American LaFrance in 1967.
His appointment follows in the footsteps of his father, Charles Gerhard II, who served as Fire Chief of Weldon Fire Company from 1960 to 1975 and was appointed grand marshal of the Glenside Parade in 1976.
“It’s a great honor to be named the parade’s grand marshal, and really an honor for Abington Township’s fire companies as a whole,” Gerhard said. “For me, it’s been all about teamwork, and that goes for business and volunteering. Good leaders build strong teams, and that’s what we’ve always tried to do and a big part of why we’re so strong today.”
Gerhard III served the Weldon Fire Company for 42 years—14 as chief officer—retiring in 2022 after having mentored countless volunteer firefighters and officers, commanding fire-related incidents, and overseeing vehicular and technical rescues.
He also helped the company acquire new equipment and vehicles during his tenure, including two 1981 American LaFrance pumpers, three Saulsbury/Spartan rescue trucks, two Saulsbury/Spartan pumpers, a Pierce Quantum pumper, a Rescue 1/Spartan rescue, and two Pierce Enforcer pumpers.
“Over the years, one of the things that I’ve always appreciated is the citizen support for our fire community. I think that’s so important,” he said. “We’re one of the few township fire departments that’s nationally accredited, and the funding that got us to that point has come from the public.”
Gerry Gerhard, Bud’s younger brother, a member of Weldon Fire Company and vice president of Gerhard’s Appliances, will serve as chauffer during the parade next Tuesday. His sons Jonathan, a deputy chief, and Charles, a captain, are active Weldon firemen.
His grandson Jonathan will be joining the company this year at the age of 16, which will mark four generations of the family’s voluntary contributions to the greater Glenside community.
“It can be hard to understand the sacrifices that families of volunteer firefighters have to make. The time taken away from family is significant, and it’s one of the things that’s built our company,” he said. “We have seven volunteers within Gerhard’s Appliances. We’ve always been big on community and try to give back, and we feel that this is a strong way to do it.”
In his retirement announcement, Weldon Fire Company noted that Gerhard “has played a major role in Weldon being on the firm footing on which it finds itself today. … His presence on any fireground in Abington Township or surrounding mutual aid districts brought with it a sense of calm and control amidst what can be very chaotic scenes.”
“The grand marshal honor is an appreciative recognition of Bud’s meritorious, valued and dedicated volunteer service over more than four decades, including several years as chief, with Glenside’s Weldon Fire Company,” Bill Hall, Glenside Parade coordinator, said.
Bud and his wife Suzanne are the parents of seven children and live in Glenside.
For more on Glenside’s three-tiered 4th of July celebration, you can click visit the GGPA’s Facebook page and website.
For more on the Weldon Fire Company, you can visit their Facebook page and website.
For more on Gerhard’s Appliances, you can visit their Facebook page and website.
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