Few traditions last more than 50 years, but for the Palmyra fire company ladies auxiliary, selling hoagies goes back to the 1960s.
Hoagies are embedded into the childhood memories of many Palmyra residents and for those like ladies auxiliary President Tish Marshall, they have become part of the township culture while the sales raise funds for the fire department.
Marshall doesn’t know how or why the sales started, but she feels like hoagies were always around. It was a staple of her childhood, and as a kid surrounded by firefighters and auxiliary members, it was only natural she would eventually help out with the hoagie sales herself.
“I grew up eating these hoagies,” Marshall recalled. “I remember in high school leaving for lunch and running to the firehouse just to get them. My mother was in the ladies auxiliary and she was there making them.
“You just grew up on them. Everyone in Palmyra grew up on them,” she added. “It was our lunch on Wednesdays. I don’t really know how it got started, but even in kindergarten, I remember running to the firehouse.”
While the hoagie tradition has been around for a while, it was even more personal for both Marshall and Palmyra Fire Chief Richard Dreby. It’s essentially part of the family business.
“Along with my mother being in the ladies auxiliary, my father was a fireman, my husband was a fireman and my son was a fireman,” said Marshall. “So when I joined the ladies auxiliary; it just felt right, and then when Chief Dreby’s mother retired from taking over, I took over.”
“With the ladies, they have always been very supportive,” Dreby noted. “They support the fire company with the hoagie sales in whatever projects that may be going on and on the fire department side. They use those funds if we have a major fire and if we have to go out, they’ll bring food or refreshments.”
“They’re been doing that for as long as they’ve been in existence,” he added. “They use the money to support us in many different ways.”
During the month of February, the ladies auxiliary will hold three hoagies sales. Typically, the sales are every other week, but due to the Fisherman’s Flea Market sale, one of the biggest fire department fundraisers of the year, hoagies will be sold Feb. 5, 9 and 19.
The Fisherman’s Flea Market will take place at Charles Street School between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. For all other hoagie sales, contact the Palmyra Fire Department at (856) 829-0020 for more information.