The annual banquet was held recently to celebrate 88 continuous years of service to the community by the Kennedy Volunteer Fire Department.
The fire hall was decorated in a nautical theme by banquet committee members Dawn Sholl, Matt Bennett, Barb Sauer and Kristen Sholl. Buffet, catered by Andriaccio's and featuring prime rib, was enjoyed by all who attended.
After dinner, Ed Hoene, master of ceremonies, introduced the guests for the evening. Included in this group were 4th Battalion Coordinator John Griffith, Ellington Fire Department Chief Steve Rexford, Falconer Fire Department Chief Chris Doverspike, Frewsburg Fire Department Chief John Lindsey and Randolph Fire Department Chief Don McElwain. Also invited were Town of Poland Highway Superintendent Larry Mee and, representing Town of Poland Supervisor Kelly Snow was Councilwoman Kathy Stanton.
Representing the New York State Police were Aaron Destro and Carl Corbelli. All the first responders thanked the members of the Kennedy Volunteer Fire Department for their mutual aid and expressed their respect for the skills of the department.
Fire commissioners for 2013 are Barry Leyman, chairman; Tom Ormond; Dennis Stornes; Dave Weiler; Harold Rowley; and Steve Stanton, treasurer. Executive officers of the Kennedy Volunteer Fire Department are Barb Sauer, president; Ken Blitz, vice president; Dawn Sholl, secretary; and Jon Payne, treasurer.
Line officers for 2013 are Greg Scott, fire chief; Keith Bean, first assistant chief; and Josh Bennett, second assistant chief.
Scott noted that it has been a pleasure to see the original members of the Junior Fire Fighters grow into the positions of active members and officers in the department.
Chris McKinley and Matt Bennett will serve as EMS captains this year. Paul Fardink and Ed Hoene will be captains. Jon Payne will serve as fire police captain, and the Rev. Lavern Terrill is continuing as chaplain.
The auxiliary officers were introduced. Cindy Crone is president, ably assisted by Candy Scott as vice president; Lisa Caswell as secretary; Colleen Caswell, treasurer; Jan Dankovich as financial secretary; and Sue Bennett, chaplain.
Deanna McKinley was awarded a plaque to honor her for 15 years serving as treasurer of the fire district. Ashley Scott was awarded her pin for her first year of service. Chief Scott noted that it had taken him many years to deliver his first baby, and she did it during her first year. Andrew Hildom and Kyle Sholl were recognized for five years of service. Ryan Swanson was recognized for 15 years active service. Ed Hoene has given 40 years of service to the department, and Lavern Terrill was noted for 45 years of service.
Scott then talked about a call in February 2012. He was awakened in the predawn hours for the report of an accident on I-86.
When calls like this come in, he noted, it is usually one where someone has slid off the road, and department members have to get the vehicle towed and keep traffic flowing.
This time was vastly different.
As the first responder on the scene, he noticed one car off the road, a long debris field scattered across the way and a second vehicle. He saw legs sticking out the window of one vehicle.
Sherry Richards had been seriously hurt in the accident, and Diana Lecierc and Sadie Prescott had stopped their own vehicle to assist, being trained in emergency procedures. Scott said that when looking at that debris field, it was a call that could have gone very wrong, very quickly.
The heroic efforts of these civilian volunteers certainly made a huge difference. He said it was a case of the right place at the right time.
Richards had written a heartfelt note to the department, thanking them for their efforts in her rescue. Sherry Richards, Jim and Joann McMeans, Diana Lecierc, and Sadie and Joe Prescott were the honored guests for the evening.
Scott presented Ms. Lecierc and Ms. Prescott with certificates for their unselfish act of compassion.
He then awarded Firemen of the Year awards to the department members who assisted at that accident scene that none of them will forget. These members were Ken Blitz, Chris McKinley, Rich Sholl, Josh Bennett, Keith Bean, Marty Ericsson, Paul Fardink, Jon Payne and Dave Weiler. A long, standing ovation followed for the honored guests and Firemen of the Year.
To close out the evening, door prizes were given, and then Dan Warren provided his DJ services to get the music going and the fire hall jiving to the beat. Chief Scott thanked members of the Falconer Fire Department for standing by in the hall so the party could be held.