• Keystone Fire Company
    Walnut Street
    Boyertown, PA 19512
    Contact: Bob Kemp 610-587-3868

About the sponsor:

The greatest longing in the human soul is to be remembered. Keystone Fire Company’s Bear Fever bear named “Squirrely” was created as a tribute to Paul Bartman, the man whom “Squirrely” represents.

Bartman was known for his dedication to the community and represented the Keystone Fire Company’s spirit of volunteerism; he was always eager to help in any way he could.

His unique contributions included his service for over 50 years as a firefighter and office of the fire company. The inspiration for his nickname “Squirrely” remains a mystery to his family and friends.

Installing “Squirrely” inspired the fire company to create an attractive deck area. Donations included a brick pad, installed and offered by Bruce Bartman, Chris Fox, and Brock Boyer of Fox Lawn Maintenance; concrete offered by J&K, Gilbertsville; and the installation of the concrete and bear mounting by Bob Powell Contracting.

The Keystone Fire Company, according to Building a Better Boyertown’s October 2006, A Pictorial Tour Through the History of Boyertown, was organized January 27, 1873, and was incorporated May 6, 1873, adopting the motto “When Duty Calls ‘Tis Ours to Obey.”

“In 1873, a new Number 2 Silsby Steamer, a hose carriage, a hose truck, and 600 feet of leather hose was purchased and placed in the hands of the newly organized Keystone Steam Fire Engine Company. For awhile a house was leased to store the apparatus. In 1879, the two-story engine house was built on North Reading Avenue.

“The first floor was used for the housing of the equipment. The second floor was used for company meetings and recreation. A part of the second floor was also reserved for the use of the Town Council as the Town Hall.

“On July 4, 1899, the first Firemen’s Parade was conducted by the Keystone Fire Company and the Friendship Hook and Ladder Company. Fire companies from Pottstown, Royersford, East Greenville and Pennsburg also participated.

“The Keystone Fire Company moved into modern times by purchasing the first chemical and auto truck on December 27, 1920. The Company boasted having the most up-to-date equipment manned by highly-trained volunteers well-prepared to render efficient and effective service to the community.

“The Keystone also rendered a service in providing for entertainment not only to the members but at various times for the entire community. The first basketball games, the first movies, the first boxing exhibitions in Boyertown were staged in the auditorium of the firehouse as well as indoor circuses, fairs, festivals, and card parties.

“In maximizing its benefits to the community, the Keystone Fire Company found its small firehouse inadequate and in recent years built a firehouse on Walnut Street which continues to serve the people and the community with its totally modern facility and equipment. It was commemorated in January, 1987.”

About the artist:

If you call Ed Luterio by phone and he doesn’t answer, his voice message will tell you everything you need to know about him. His message says, “Hey, if I’m not answering my phone, it’s because I’m painting or fishing or painting a fish! But, leave a message and I’ll call you back as soon as I’m done!”

That’s Ed! Ed shares that he’s loved fish and fishing and painting fish his entire life. Every day he makes time for fishing somewhere—early in the morning or late at night—whenever he can make time for it. But…every day.
He’s taught his children to fish and love fishing as well, but we’d find it difficult to find the same enthusiasm and energy in anyone but Ed himself! And even though his Bear Fever bears have not yet become canvases for his favorite subject, he is one of Bear Fever’s most prolific artists and is always happy to paint another bear.

In addition to “Suirrely,” Keystone Fire Company’s bear, the Rader Beverages bear “Nostalgia” features photographs of Boyertown’s history as its body art, but the face and paws belong to Ed!

Ed was also selected for his realistic style, his spirit, speed and professionalism to be the artist for Chuck Smith’s Auto Service bear named “Reds.” In addition, he was commissioned by the Center at Spring Street to re-create their Food Bear whose decoupage treatment featuring flowers and faces of the seniors who attend The Center deteriorated in the sun, rain, and snow—despite a strong clear coat.

Cowpainters, the Chicago company that creates the fiberglass animal forms, added a firefighter’s helmet and features representing a firefighter jacket, to their standard standing bear template, to meet the requests by the sponsoring committee at Keystone Fire Company.

Luterio used silver paint to duplicate the outfit’s reflective feature and carefully painted fingerless gloves on #16.
Ed’s website, displays his work as a freelance self-taught artist and illustrator specializing in wildlife and ?game fish. His favorite media include oils, acrylics, watercolor, and pencil.
In addition to painting fish and Bear Fever bears, Ed enjoys doing mural work to add a very personal touch to a home of office. The mural section of his website showcases some of the work he has done in his home state of Pennsylvania as well as the Jersey shore.

His illustration work can be seen monthly in Saltwater Sportsman magazine (SWS) and one of his original oil paintings has recently graced the magazine cover of Striped Bass. Ed's art work can also be seen at NYOC.US, an outdoor site dedicated to New York state outdoorsmen,

Locally, Ed has been commissioned to design and direct high school seniors in creating a community mural project in Pottstown, PA. The mural, to be titled, “Our Favorite Books,” will be on display directly behind the Pottstown Public library.
Currently, in Shadybrook Farm, Bucks County, PA, a haunted attraction features aliens and other creatures designed and painted by Ed in 3-D day glow paint. “Alien Encounter” can be seen until Halloween 2007. Visit Map quest for directions to Shadybrook Farm.

Ed exhibits locally: he mounted a Father’s Day exhibit in Bause’s Super Drug Store, Building a Better Boyertown office, and assorted exhibits sponsored by BBB’s Arts and Activities Alliance.

Ed has plans to run workshops in town to share his painting techniques with other lovers of art.