Several weeks ago I wrote in my column about the Department of Civilian Marksmanship program that we had here in Whitehall. This was held at the Whitehall’s Senior Rifle Clubs building, which was at the north end of Main Street. It was there that the first hunter training courses were held.
The members of the rifle club held the courses under the supervision of men like Fred Romdeau, Iria Chaplin, Charlie Fountaine, Ray Saladine and several others.
These men donated their time as the many hundreds do today to make it safe for youngsters starting out with firearms to be careful how they handle weapons.
One of the first classes held at the range was in 1950. Now that’s a real long time ago. Many are still active and some have passed away but see if you can recognize some of them: Russell Goselin, Don Snody, Maynard Rushia, Don Steves, Joe Lipka, Francis Lavin, James Hurst, Bob Fish, Harry Weber, Leo Barber, John Rocque, Wayne Woodcock, Harold Osborne, Gordon Angus, Pete Leonbruno, Francis Raino, Don Cornal, Dave Thomas, Joe LaChapelle, Hershel Coppins, Ken Doty, Albert Arquette, Richard Currier, Don Gordon, Hank DeLuca, Bob Wescott, Charles Hamm and Gene Terry.
There were 29 in that class. Now that I look at some of the names, it’s a wonder that some of us didn’t end up in another lineup. We use to shoot on Friday nights at the range and during the winter months.
Many used our own 22s and it was nothing to see members walking down the street to the range carrying their own gun. That was the way of life back then. Nobody thought anything about it. Try it now and you’ll have police departments all over you. It’s too bad it has come to this.
Ray Saladine and his son, Ray Jr., supplied the list of that class. He kept a lot of his father’s memories and passed this on to me. Certainly men like Ray, Fred Iria, Charlie and many others who donated their time to endure the youngsters of that era and years afterward helped to establish a very safe environment for many years after. God bless them.
As you read this, this year’s hunting licenses are now on sale. Make sure and check with your town clerk before purchasing one, as some of the rules and regulations that we have been used to for the past years have changed. Don’t want to give the conservation officers any excuse to nab you. As always, be careful out there. Be sure of your target, whether it’s a squirrel, rabbit, deer or just out sighting in your rifle. Be careful!