KENNEDY - The Kennedy Volunteer Fire Department held its annual banquet recently, celebrating 85 years of service to the community.
Founded in 1925, the department has persevered and grown along with the community. This history of service has proven the commitment of the men and women of the department to helping others in the time of need.
Outgoing Chief Ed Hoene was Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Following the thoroughly enjoyed dinner catered by Miley's , Chief Hoene introduced the guests for the evening. 4th Battalion Coordinator Anthony Cavallaro not only congratulated the Kennedy Volunteer Fire Department for its many years of active service, but also expressed the opinion of all attending when he remarked how glad he was to see so many new members joining to continue the legacy of service. Chief Bruce Webster of Falconer, Randolph Chief Don McElwain, Frewsburg Chief John Lindsay, and Ellington Assistant Chief Chad Swanson represented their departments. Town of Poland Highway Superintendent Larry Mee was recognized for all the assistance his department gives to the Kennedy Fire Department during the year. Town Councilwoman Kathy Stanton, representing Town Supervisor Jim Cooper, thanked the Kennedy Fire Department for all their service to the community, not just in emergencies.
The Junior Fire Fighters were recognized for their enthusiastic training to be ready to advance to full department membership when they are old enough. This year's officers are Ashley Scott, President; Devan Donelson, Vice President; Ashley Smith, Secretary; and Kristen Sholl, Treasurer. Cody Brandow and Nick Fardink are also members of the group.
Chief Hoene turned the microphone over to the new Kennedy Fire Department Chief, Greg Scott. Chief Scott has been with the department for 14 years, ands is also an EMT. He introduced his line officers for 2010. 1st Assistant Chief is Bruce Caswell. Ed Hoene is 2nd Assistant Chief. Ryan Swanson and Ken Harrower are Rescue Captains. Shaun Smith is WS-472 Captain. Dave Huber and Bob Sauer are E-472 and E-473 Captains, respectively. Jon Payne is Fire Police Captain, and Vern Terrill is Chaplain.
Chief Scott began enumerating the virtues of this year's Fireman of the Year. Not only had this department member been on many calls, never hesitating when duty called, but he has been responsible for several different grants which the department has received, and spearheaded efforts to improve equipment and training. His many years of service have been an example to countless others. A well-deserved standing ovation was given as Chief Ed Hoene was announced as Fireman of the Year.
Nor were the accolades done. Barry Leyman, Chairman of the Fire Commissioners, presented Chife Hoene with a plaque to commemorate his five years as Chief of the Kennedy Volunteer Fire Department. Chief Hoene was later presented a beautiful painting to commemorate his 37 years of service with the department.
Kennedy Fire Department President Barb Burdic introduced the special guests for the evening. Mike and Brenda Warholic have supplied the department with printed materials of all kinds for many years. Tom Shelters, who runs Anytime Towing, assists at emergency scenes, but he also has supplied the department with vehicles for training exercises. John and Wendy Ross of Fal-Ken Electric have used their expertise for the town and the department for many years. A special plaque was awarded to John Ross for all his electrical work that he has done for the Kennedy Volunteer Fire Department.
Chief Scott noted how many of the members of the Kennedy Fire department have gone on to work at the county level as well, with Haz-Mat and other training. The many hours spent on such training every year, time that could be spent at other activities and with family members, shows the dedication these people have to their service. When that call goes out in the middle of the night, these well-trained first responders will answer the call.
Joining Ms. Burdic as executive officers are Ken Blitz, Vice President; Dawn Sholl, Secretary; and Jon Payne, Treasurer. Fire Commissioners are Barry Leyman, Chairman; Tom Ormond; Dennis Stornes; Dave Weiler; Harold Rowley; and Deanna McKinley, Treasurer.
Cindy Crone is President of the Kennedy Fire Department Auxiliary. Other officers are: Candy Scott, Vice President; Lisa Caswell, Secretary; Colleen Caswell, Treasurer; Jan Dankovich, Financial Secretary; and Dawn Swanson, Chaplain.
After awarding service pins to members for their years of dedication, the Driver of the Year award was given to Ken Harrower. Mr. Harrower has been a member of the department for nine years, and responded to many calls, as well as helped with special events for the Kennedy Fire Department.
Before enjoying music by Smokehouse, department members thanked the banquet committee of Dawn Sholl, Jodi Aiken, Dennis Ridout, Barb Burdic, and Colleen Caswell for their efforts. The country western theme for this year's event was a big hit, and the hours of preparation were greatly appreciated.
After 85 years, the Kennedy Volunteer Fire Department is still going strong. The community is indebted to these people for their continued efforts on behalf of others.