The Officers and Members of the Delaware City Fire Company and Ladies Auxiliary are sadden to announce the passing of Chief Emeritus Charles Neel.
Chief Emeritus Neel joined the fire company on January 22, 1948 and throughout his 75 years of service he served in many capacities.
He was elected as a Board of Director in 1953 and in 1954 started one of the longest tenure of any member to serve as a Chief Officer as he was elected as Assistant Chief. Over the next 27 straight years, he served as a Chief Officer in which he was elected Fire Chief in 1964 through 1968, then again in 1970 and 1973 to 1980 for a total of 14 years as Fire Chief.
In 1962, he started a 55 year run serving as a Board of Director with over 20 years as Chairman of the Board, last serving in 2017. He was recognized by the New Castle County Volunteer Firefighters Association in 1988 as the Firefighter of the Year. In 1995 was selected as the State of Delaware's Firefighter of the Year in 1995 by the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association and inducted into that Associations Firefighters Hall of Fame in 1996. He was recognized by the New Castle County Volunteer Firefighters Association with the Harold "Sonny" Wilkins Award in 1998 by the Wilkins Family.
Chief Emeritus Neel was honored with many fire company awards such as President & Chief Member of the Year in 1986 and 2014. President Emeritus Harry Bright Memorial Award in 2004 as Administrative Officer of the Year. In 2015, he was recognized with the Chiefs Award.
He was honored along with the rest of the first arriving engine crew as the Driver during a triple fatal house fire in downtown Delaware City in 2010 for their Heroic Actions with the Chief Arthur B. Hope Heroic Firefighter of the Year.
In 1991, the Chief Emeritus Charles Neel Award was created for the Fireline Officer of the Year Award which has been bestowed to his late brother Bob Neel and grandson Brett Neel.
He was presented with his Honorary Membership of our Ladies Auxiliary for his unselfish commitment to their Organization sometime in the 1990's.
Chief Emeritus Neel not only was committed to the fire company but also his church, Ebenezer United Methodist on Clinton Street. Charles, his wife Jane [whom passed away in 2019] and his family were and still a daily fixture at their church.
Charles also was a active member of the Delaware City Lions Club for many years and served as that organizations King Lion [similar to be President] for a few years.
Our Organizations have lost one of the most beloved ICONS to ever be a member of the Delaware City Fire Company. We have been in contact with his family and once arrangements are finalized we will post them with the approval of his family.
We asked that you keep the Neel Family in your thoughts and prayers.