By Mark Reynolds
The Highland Hose Company knew they could not host a large gathering during the pandemic to honor their own as they have for many years, but instead scheduled a small gathering at the fire house last October as a way to acknowledge certain milestones for several members and to those who have answered the call of duty to the company and to the community.
Fire Chief Peter Miller said the awards ceremony observed the proper social distancing. He said presenting the awards allows friends and families to see what they do for the community.
“That’s an important function of it because you’re taking that person away from their house all the time and you’ve got to show some recognition as to why that’s happening,” he said. “They are always pleased for the recognition. There are guys who are striving for the numbers and drivers who try to beat out the other guys on the number of times they drive or the number of drills and things like that. In some of those categories they enjoy being the number one guy.”
Miller said the Hose Company calendar year runs from April 1 to March 31, so the awards in October took into consideration 2018 into 2019. He said his members began turning out for fire calls more toward the end of their year because they have been feeling stuck inside too much because of the pandemic.
“The district and the Board of Fire Commissioners appreciate the fact that these guys are still putting in the time. We’re always interested in people doing as much as they can and we try to provide them with an environment where it is a good way for them to do that where everything is equitable and fair and everybody has the same opportunities and everything they can do to participate,” he said.
Chief Miller said the company is always looking to recruit active members. He said if someone is interested they can come to a duty night that is held on the 2nd or 4th Monday of the month from 7 to 9 p.m. at the fire house, 25 Milton Ave., Highland.
“We’ll have a conversation and give them some information,” Miller said.
The department also maintains a Facebook presence at Highland Hose Company No. 1.
The Department presented Service Pins to members for their years of service: Hunter Dailey and Jon Napoleon for 5 years of service; John Halstead and Alan Barone for 40 years of service; Tony DiMetro and Chuck Gentilquore for 45 Years of service and Stephen DiLorenzo for 50 years of service.
The company presented a series of awards for 2019: Top Responder Awards awards to the following members who answered more than 100 calls: Patrick Gethings 107 calls; Fred DeMaio 117; Jon Napoleon 129; Joseph Lyons 131; Alan Barone 139; Mike DePaola 148; Stephen DiLorenzo 152; John Gallagher 162; Fred Dunham 169 and Frank Canino 170.
Plaques presented to the following members; the Most Active Driver with 122 calls Fred Dunham; Most Active Drills and Duty Nights Jon Napoleon & John Gallagher; for serving as Vice President to the Hose Company Frank Piscopo and for Service to the Hose Company as a 2nd Lt. Taylor Dailey.
A Special Recognition was made to Steve DiLorenzo for his 50 years of dedicate service to the Highland Hose Company No. 1, Inc and the Lloyd Community. He was also honored as Grand Marshall for the 125th Highland Hose Company No. 1 Anniversary Parade. He also received a Certificate of Appreciation from Ulster County and the NYS Office of Fire Prevention & Control for his half a century of service, devotion to duty and his contributions to the fire service and public safety, merits the gratitude of all who have benefited from his efforts.
Mike DePaola also received Special Recognition for his service as President and Vice President of the Ulster County Volunteer Fireman’s Association, the 84th Ulster County Volunteer Fireman’s Association Convention and for the 125th Anniversary Parade of the Highland Hose Company No. 1. Inc.
Allan Barone received a Certificate of Appreciation from Ulster County and the NYS Office of Fire Prevention & Control to honor his 40 years of service.