During the mid-1970s, a very forward-thinking group of firefighters from the Great Neck Alert Fire Co. took a long, hard look at the youth of their community. These leaders saw many children who had an interest in the fire service, but had no way to pursue that dream while only in their early teens.
After extensive research both locally and around New York State, these firefighters began to lay the groundwork for a junior program. After gelling all the needed approval and creating bylaws to guide the new organization, the Great Neck Alert Junior Firefighters became a reality. Many of the first applications went to children of members of the Alerts.
After the interview process, this original group of Alert Junior Firefighters was then sworn in at a ceremony attended by many in 1982. Officers were elected from their ranks to lead the newly formed group. The offices of Captain, First Lieutenant, Second Lieutenant, Recording Secretary and Financial Secretary are still in place today for the current Juniors.
As the group evolved, they attending many parades and other functions. The model of one meeting/training night and one drill night each month still remains in place today. The Alert Juniors expanded their functions to include assisting with all fire prevention initiatives, including visiting local schools and also playing a vital role during the annual open house festivities every October. The group also expanded their love of the fire service to include the formation of a muster team that has attended many events throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. This team is still going strong today.
The Alert Juniors also have been a continued presence at the FASNY Firemen’s Home each year during the annual Juniors Day. Visiting with those at the Home and browsing the FASNY Museum of Firefighting have become a fall highlight for many.
The Great Neck Alert Juniors have accomplished many more vital roles for their hometown. Currently, the actual Great Neck Alert Fire Co. is comprised of nearly 40 percent of firefighters who have come through the Junior program. This includes many fire and business officers, trustees, presidents and our current Chief of Department.
Many children of our firefighters have benefitted from this wonderful organization and as the group has grown and maintained its current ranks of 30 members, many other local youths saw the benefits and joined the ranks.
Though the original group from nearly 40 years ago was comprised of all boys, the changing dynamics of the fire service had a remarkable impact as an all-female slate was elected to serve the Great Neck Alert Juniors.
As years have marched on, the Alert Juniors have grown and thrived and continue to provide a valuable and important service to not only present-day Great Neck. But, they are also geared up to continue a strong tradition well into the future.
ADAPTED FROM A NOMINATION BY GREAT NECK ALERT EX-PRESIDENT JOHN MOTCHKAVITZ