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Auxiliary Answers Alarm at All Hours

When the cell phone rings in the middle of the night, Irene Stuart jumps out of bed and makes a mad dash to get dressed and out the door. As a member and the president of the Cos Cob Ladies Auxiliary, it is her duty to provide food for firefighters at an emergency scene, regardless of the time of day.

"It doesn't matter what time it is. If our guys need us, we'll be there," Stuart said. "We provide soup, sandwiches, coffee and hot cocoa, depending on the season, of course."

Since 1954, the Cos Cob Ladies Auxiliary has supported the Cos Cob Volunteer Fire Department, and it is the only one left of its kind in Greenwich. Stuart has kept a strong group of volunteers and recruits younger members to keep the auxiliary thriving. Members are often wives or family members of firefighters, which helps make the fire station a home away from home. "We are all a very tight-knit group," she said. "Everyone is very dedicated and cares about" the firefighters.

The organization recently allowed nonrelatives to join. "We never used to allow people who weren't related to a firefighter," Stuart said. "Over the years, people have passed away or moved and our [numbers] dropped."

Stuart become involved in 1976 after her two sons, Scott and Bill, volunteered for the fire department. Stuart said she is so proud to support the firemen.

"The amount of training these guys do is amazing," she said. "I am so honored to be part of the only auxiliary left in Greenwich."

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