By Lori Brown
WOODBOURNE June 16, 2006 On Saturday, the 47th Annual Past Presidents Dinner took place at the Woodbourne Fire District Social Hall.
There were 41 fire companies in the county represented at this dinner, comprising approximately 1,253 active firemen in Sullivan County.
Guest speaker James Burnes, Fire Administrator for NY State, delivered a moving speech on how he has improved and expanded many programs for firemen. Among some of his accomplishments are the increase in state fire instructors, the expansion of hazardous material capabilities, and the cigarette law regarding extinguishing the cigarettes completely. He received an award from Sullivan County Legislature Chair Chris Cunningham and Legislator Leni Binder.
Active firefighter Christopher Klein received an award from the SCVFA. He was given it for his quick actions taken trying to save a life and his commitment to firefighting.
Highland Lake FD Assistant Chief Charlie Hallock and Lieutenant John Von Steenburgh received the Fireman of the Year Award for 2005. Both gentlemen received this award for their heroic actions taken on October 13, 2005 rescuing three fellow firefighters in great danger.
Their actions were very courageous, said Sullivan County Public Safety Commissioner Richard Martinkovic.
Gordon Frost Jr., 2005/2006 President of the Sullivan County Volunteer Firefighters Association from Grahamsville, introduced the new officers. He thanked each individually during his speech.
The new officers are President Chet Smith, 1st Vice President Tom Sprague, 2nd Vice President James W. Buck, 3rd Vice President Jennifer MacKenzie, Recording/Financial Secretary Anthony Perito, Treasurer Joseph Nosek, Trustees Albert Whittaker and John Hauschild, Sgt of Arms Paul Essex, and Chaplain Isaac Yits Kantrowitz.
Incoming President Chet Smith thanked his hometown fire dept., Rock Hill, where he is a 20-year member. He wished to thank his wife Pam and his boss, Paul Walsh. He also mentioned that he is honored to represent Rock Hill and is the 5th SCVFA president from Rock Hill. He acknowledged Frost on his great job as the president last year and awarded him his past presidents badge.
All of the living past presidents from 1927 to the present were acknowledged through roll call. Concluding the evening was Chaplain Yits Kantrowitz with his benediction.