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Watkins Glen recognizes firefighter work

    WATKINS GLEN—The Watkins Glen Fire Department honored the work of firefighters in 2011 with the annual banquet on Saturday, April 21.  The event took place at the Watkins Glen Fire House.  
    Fire Chief Dominick Smith presented the annual report for the past year.  Overall, there were a total of 843 calls.  The department also responded to numerous requests for mutual aid.  This included seven calls in Beaver Dams, 17 in Burdett, one in Dundee, one in Hector, nine in Montour Falls, five in Odessa, four in Tyrone, and one for Schuyler Ambulance.  Smith pointed out some notable accomplishments for the fire department in 2011, which included forming a fire investigation team, creating a planning committee for festival events in the village, and purchasing a new brush truck and engine.  
    Smith commended all department members for their service throughout the course of the year.  “It has been a very busy year,” he said.  “The men and women of this department put in a lot of hard work and I really appreciate everything you have done.”  This year, the department is also celebrating 150 years of service to the Watkins Glen community.  Smith referred to that amount as “something to be very proud of.”  He pointed out a special 150th anniversary celebration will be held at the fire house on Aug. 25.    
    During the program, awards were presented to select members of the fire department.  The top responder for 2011 was Stan Mason with 396.  Other top responders were Aaron Emery with 354 calls, Brent Miller with 280, Jessica Conklin with 276, and Ed Barron with 182.  
    Kristina Olevnik received the honor of most completed training hours with a total of 86.   The other members who took home training awards were Conklin with 80 hours, Emery with 75, Bill Beardsley with 69, and Jason Fuller with 68.  
    An award for the most years of service was presented to Joe Matwiejow for 55 years in the fire department.  Additional service awards were given to Smith for 20 years and Emery, A.J. Matwiejow, Miller, and Anthony Nieves for five years.  The service awards were for members who completed total years of service ending in either ‘0’ or ‘5’.
    Dominick Smith also won the Charles Smith Memorial Award.  The honor is named after a former member of the Watkins Glen Fire Department.  
Among those present at Saturday’s banquet were Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn and Watkins Glen Mayor Mark Swinnerton.  O’Hearn lauded the department for the 150 years benchmark and thanked members for all their work.  “Congratulations on 150 years of serving our community,” he told the responders.  “I wish all of you the best of luck.  It (being a firefighter) is a thankless job and the average person has no idea what goes into this work.”  
    Swinnerton inducted department and company officers for the 2012-13 fire department year which begins June 1.  The department officers for the upcoming year will be Dominick Smith as chief; Judson Smith as the first assistant to the chief; Derek Bacon as second assistant to chief; Charlie Scaptura as third assistant to the chief; Charlie Smith III, Mark Specchio Jr., and Robbie DeDominick as the deputy chiefs; Robert Monterio as rescue captain; Aaron Emery as forman; and Dewayne Butler as assistant forman.  
    For company officers, Conklin will serve as president; the vice president will be Barron; Olevnik will serve as secretary; Joe Matwiejow, Keith Caslin, Beardsley, Mike Stamp, and Jim Adesso will be directors; and the chaplain will be Tony Specchio.  
    Swinnerton also expressed gratitude towards the fire department members for their efforts.  “Thank you for the work you do,” he told them.  “It means a lot.”  



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