Banks' Engine 16 will carry the remains of Chief Clarence Sweere. Photo: Chas Hundley

The Banks Fire District will honor former Chief Clarence Sweere on Saturday, August 14 with a procession from St. Francis in Roy to Banks’ Union Point Cemetery to transport the remains of the man who co-founded the Tri-Cities Rural Fire Protection District in 1954. 

Sweere, who served as chief along with Chief Jim Ward when the two joined others in the Banks area to merge fire services in Banks, Manning and Buxton into one district in July 1954, died March 16, 2021. He was 94.

Sweere served as chief until 1966, when Ward took over for the Tri-Cities Rural Fire Protection District, which was renamed Banks Fire District #13 in March 2001.

His full obituary can be read online here

“Chief Sweere’s final command will be in Engine 16, an engine dedicated to the memory of Chief Ward who predeceased Chief Sweere,” wrote Banks Fire spokesperson Scott Adams in a statement. 

The district said that Engine 16, leading a family processional, will travel through from Roy to Greenville Road, then to Highway 47, which becomes Main Street as it passes through Banks, and then right up Banks Road to the Union Point Cemetery. 

Those who wish to pay their respects should line up along Main Street by 11:45 a.m. Saturday, Adams said, noting that the procession will pass through Banks between 12 and 12:15 p.m.

Adams said that the best place to pay respects will be where the procession pauses, with Sweere in the officer’s seat, in front of the Banks Fire District station in Banks. The station is located where Sweere operated Sweere’s Auto Body for years before transferring the land to the district. 

“ It would be appropriate to waive, salute, or put your hand on your heart as the processional passes,” Adams said. 

Sweere was a longtime volunteer in the community, was active in the Banks Chamber of Commerce, volunteered at the annual Banks Barbecue, and even served as Grand Marshal of the annual parade through Banks.