Retro Frontlining Fair Haven Doc & Mayor

There’s something about memories of an iconic doctor, mayor, house calls, volunteerism and community that soothe what ails the stressed and scared in surging pandemic and vaccination times.

So, it’s all about Fair Haven’s longtime Dr. Movelle and former Mayor Bill Leonard, both of whom have passed away, in today’s Retro Pic(s) of the Day. At Monday night’s Fair Haven Borough Council meeting, Leonard, who passed away in 2020, was honored virtually with a plaque and proclamation.

Yes, Bill was mayor, but, his plaque was for his service as captain of the volunteer Fair Haven Fire Department’s First Aid Squad and many years in the department. Longtime Fair Havenite, first aider, also former captain, and fire department member, Bill Lang was also honored (more on that and honoring his memory on Friday).

And on the subject of honoring and celebrating community volunteers …

For the first time in a long time, if ever, the fire department’s annual Installation Dinner was canceled. The dinner is held in celebration of the installation of new officers in the department and recognition of those before them. It’s a party — and it’s a highly anticipated annual event. It was at the Fair Haven Fire Department Installation Dinner of 2001 (pictured) that these two community icons were paired in a pose.

Looking back, Leonard was bestowing the honor this time — on Dr. Movelle for his service to the fire company as its official doctor.

These two were frontline workers well before COVID-19 reared its devastating head. First Aiders are in 24/7 volunteer service to residents. Still are. When you call, they come. And, since Fair Haven is such a close-knit small community, they usually know your name and your family. It’s a soothing sight to see a familiar face mid-emergency, peppered with fear or uncertainty.

And speaking of responding to the call with a personal touch, Dr. Movelle, known to be a local doctor with local roots who knew those he served in more than an office visit capacity, made house calls back in the day. Movelle’s office, a common old-time doctor’s way, was attached to his home at the corner of Grange Avenue and River Road.

The house call, Marcus Welby M.D. and Movelle style, is a thing of the past. But the memories of a times of that extra personal touch from the front lines are never diminished. Sometimes, the reminder keeps us going … until we encounter that emergency situation and see those familiar, soothing smiles.

So, did Bill Leonard or Dr. Movelle ever pay a call to you at home? For what ailment or situation?

Have you thanked a frontline volunteer today?