In front of a room filled with friends and grateful residents, the Montgomery Village Board, last week, honored a pillar of the community.
Norbury “Skip” Chambers, recently recognized by the Montgomery Fire Department for 70 years of service, received a plaque from the village board to commemorate that milestone.
“We can’t say enough about Skip,” said Mayor Steve Brescia. “He’s one of the premier cornerstones of the Village of Montgomery.”
“Your father and I joined together on the same day,” said Chambers in reply to the mayor.
Chambers, who turned 89 on March 1, is the third generation of his family to operate a business in the village. He currently operates Chambers Ford Tractors on Route 17K, next to the Montgomery Firehouse. At one time, he was recognized as the number one Ford tractor dealer in New York State.
In a recent interview with Village Historian Brian Fitzpatrick, Chambers said his grandfather had bought that property in 1865, moving there from Coldenham. His grandfather conducted horse and wagon sales on the property until his death in 1947. His father was born in Montgomery in 1909.
As a child, Skip milked cows before going to school in the morning.
“I remember my father saying when I was 10 years old, you’re old enough to get up and milk in the morning,” Skip said in the interview that can be see on the Facebook page of the Village of Montgomery Museum.
His father sold work horses to farmers, until after World War II when tractors became plentiful. Skip had offers from three tractor manufacturers, and ultimately settled on Ford.
As a volunteer firefighter, there have been many memorable experiences, including the 1960 NASCAR race at Orange County Airport.
“I sat there on the fire truck with Richard Petty,” he recalled. “I was there with the pit crew.”