By Ted Waddell
ROSCOE July 8, 2005 Like many graduates of the local central school, 21-year-old Curt Schwarz is headed off to active duty with the U.S. military.
After graduating from Roscoe Central in 2001, Schwarz signed up for the ROTC at SUNY Albany, where he recently received a degree in sociology.
Commissioned by the Air Force on May, 20, he's headed off to Kirkland AFB on Saturday for a three-year active-duty hitch serving his country as a logistics readiness officer.
"It's something I've always wanted to do, and free college was pretty appealing," said Schwarz when asked why he signed on the dotted line for the ROTC program.
Although he expects to serve a tour overseas in an unstable world, Schwarz said, "I'm not worried. If I go, I go."
His father Dave joined Roscoe Hose Company 27 years ago, and a couple of years ago so did the son.
"We're immensely proud of him, and he's bulletproof," said Dave Schwarz.
A father's reaction to watching his son graduate from the ROTC program?
"I saw immense changes in him, and we're tickled pink," said Schwarz.
Jason Rogers "Car One," chief of the local fire department had mixed emotions about the imminent departure of the young volunteer firefighter.
"He 's going to be missed. . . . He's continuing his service for the fire department with the military," said Rogers.
"It's all about service, and it's all voluntary," he added. "A strong community is what makes people volunteer, a willingness to do something for others, not just themselves, which is not entirely too prevalent today."
As a few members of the department relaxed upstairs in the firehouse rec room after Saturday's 4th of July Parade in which Schwarz drove a firefighting apparatus proudly down the main street, the newly minted serviceman sat next to his best friend Dusty Bury, a graduate of Roscoe's Class of 2003.
He attends Alfred University and is the son of Gary Bury, chairman of the local board of fire commissioners.
"I wish every fireman had their drive, desire and energy," said 2nd Assistant Chief Kevin Feeney.
Schwarz's mom Vicki is a lifelong resident of the tightly knit community of Roscoe, a town with a reputation of sending more than its share of young men and women to the front lines of democracy.
Her reaction to seeing her son head off to active duty in a world ravaged by war?
"Proud, scared and nervous," she replied.
"I'm proud because he's serving his country, and I'm scared because he might go to Iraq or Afghanistan ... but he has to do what he has to do."