The following is an email submitted by Geneseo Deputy Town Supervisor Matt Griffo to the GeneseeSun.com for publication. The attitudes and ideas expressed below should not be interpreted as the opinion of the GeneseeSun.com.
The Geneseo Fire Department held their annual banquet last Saturday night at the Big Tree Inn. As an invited guest I left inspired and confident that we are in good hands and well protected.
The program was emceed by Chief Andrew Chanler. Andrew has a great talent mixing humor with serious appreciation recognizing various members for their time of service and dedication. Current Assistant Chief Steve Zabrocki was recognized for 45 years of service. Steve started in the department while he was still in high school and served as Chief from 1991-93. Past Chief Charlie Parent then took the podium in order to recognize Chief Chanler for his 30 years of service. Charlie noted Andrew’s three terms as Chief and some of the notable calls he has been in charge of. Ambulance Captain Chris Steigler was recognized for 10 years of service and his overall service of 32 years in various departments and squads.
The most prestigious award presented, the “William Haley Award Outstanding Service Award” was awarded to James Dewar. James, a fifth generation member, is the grandson of the late Haley. The award is given to the member who personifies all the aspects of being an outstanding member. James has been a member for seven years and currently serves as a Lieutenant.
A few of the members were also recognized for achievements that they would rather forget but brought a great deal of amusement to the crowd. There was also a music video presentation produced by Kathryn Dewar. The video is a collection of the years past events and a few photos of days gone by. I was able to witness the special comradery shared by the members. Some of things made me laugh; some brought a tear to my eye. Watching the video can’t help but make you wish you too were part of such a great group.
This group also reminds me why I love Geneseo. Typically when they come to our homes or business we immediately see a different side of a person we have known most of our lives. We hear the siren on Center Street or the air horns downtown only to then see the members with blue lights going to fire hall or the trucks with lights flashing and siren blaring headed to the call. What we don’t see is a person who’s been alerted in the middle of the night, left work or a family get together to head to an incident that could be a life or death situation. They respond at a moment’s notice to extricate victims from horrific accidents, save our homes and businesses from fire and provide ambulance service for our family and friends when they are ill.
I write this letter because the members don’t necessarily desire public attention for their individual service. In reality it is these dedicated individuals who make up this outstanding professional volunteer department. Geneseo is lucky to have all of you and my hope is everyone will continue to support our volunteers.