The Edgewater Park Volunteer Hose Company honored an Edgewater Park resident and veteran Eugene Lobbe with an American Flag made of firehose after his recent passing.
Lobbe served in the Vietnam War during the late 1960s and – according to an article in the Herald Statesman from April 19, 1968 – received the Bronze Star for his “heroism in connection with military operatives against a hostile force in Vietnam.”
Tom Lobbe, Eugene’s son, approached members of the fire department in the fall about creating the flag to honor his father.
Lobbe got the idea from a similar piece the department made to honor 9-11.
Mark Schoenstein, the 21-year old captain of the Edgewater volunteer firefighters, said Lobbe donated plywood to make the original fire-hose laden flag around September 11, 2016.
Since then, Lobbe, Schoenstein and a couple of the firefighters had been discussing honoring Eugene with a similar flag.
Once Eugene passed away from cancer on January 23, Tom said he and the firefighters decided to start working on the flag
Schoenstein said the entire process took about five days.
The group used an old, gray firehose which they cut and laid on 1-foot by 3-foot plywood to make the flag’s stripes.
They then painted every other stripe red and left the other firehoses gray to give the flag a rustic look.
Finally, they painted the top left corner of the flag blue and placed white-painted wooden stars on top of the blue background.
The fire department presented the Lobbe family with the flag during Eugene’s February 4 wake.
“When I saw it, I fell in love with it,” said Tom Lobbe, “I wouldn’t have asked for this if I didn’t think my father deserved it.”
Lobbe said he has no regrets about his dad’s passing since he got to spend time with his father at Calvary Hospital during his last days.
In happier times they spent many a night watching Jeopardy and NFL football games together.
Eugene was diagnosed with lung, trachea and brain cancer in August of 2015.
Lobbe, who died at the age of 69, was originally told he had three months to live.
Tom, 47, said he remembers his dad as a family man.
He recalls Eugene telling him to copy his best qualities when fathering his own children and refraining from copying his worst qualities.
“It’s a lesson I live by everyday,” Tom said.
Tom, who has lived in Edgewater his entire life, was especially touched by the fire department’s gesture because his dad wasn’t a firefighter and the makers of the flag didn’t really know his father.
However, Schoenstein said the fire department’s actions are indicative of Edgewater Park’s dedication to its residents.
“Edgewater Park is a very small tight-knit community,” said Schoenstein.
He added that when he had an almost-terminal illness at age 14, the community brought food to his house and visited his family to see how he was doing.
“I’ve witnessed first-hand what neighbors could do for each other,” he said.
Eugene Lobbe lived in Edgewater Park for 15 years after moving to the Bronx from Yonkers in the early 70s.
He was a mailman for 30 years before retiring in the early 2000s.
He is survived by his wife Sheila, his sons Tom and Bryan and his daughter Jennifer.