Youth Mentor of the Year Award

2020 Winner

Fredrick Isgar

Howlett Hill Fire Department



Chief Fred Isgar is a lifelong volunteer firefighter. He started his career in the Howlett Hill Fire Department all the way back when he was a member of the Howlett Hill FD Juniors program at the age of 14. He was an active member and eager to participate in the weekly program. He attended the drills and FD events, both weeknights and weekends, and soaked up all the knowledge that comes so easy to these young people when they are having a good time. Isgar flew through the program and was accepted as a RAM at 16.

Over the next few years, Isgar attended as many New York State firefighting courses as he could while also becoming and EMT. He continued to grow as not only an outstanding young capable firefighter, but as a fine citizen. Isgar worked his way up through the department ranks and is now serving as Chief.

What will eventually become his greatest legacy will be his commitment to the department’s youth program. Under the Chief’s oversight, the Juniors and Cadet program has been jump-started.

The program was an instant success right from the beginning. What started out with a handful of attendees has grown to over two dozen attending each night. The members and officers of the Howlett Hill FD have also embraced the program. There is no shortage of senior members stepping up to help Isgar with this worthy project.

The Wednesday night youth training night always brings in additional full-fledged Department members who also want to take advantage of the opportunity to train and be at the station. This type of program is not offered by other neighboring departments so Isgar has opened the door for all local youth, from other districts as well, to attend. Members of neighboring departments are not only sending their own children to the program, but are recommending it to the youth of their respective communities.

Isgar has seized on this opportunity to help mentor and mold the Cadets into not only well-trained Juniors, but also good people and citizens as well. Training sessions include the normal firefighting and EMS skills sessions but also lessons on respect, tradition, tolerance, flexibility, innovation, interaction and learning to reach beyond your normal comfort range.

It takes a lot of time, energy, creativity, and devotion to make these programs successful year over year. Isgar devotes countless hours to class development. In the program, Cadets not only learn how to make a hydrant connection successfully or throw ladders and use hydraulic tools, they also learn how to cook meals, wash apparatus and care for their PPE.

The members also are the largest contingent at out department fundraising events, always making themselves available to help and support their department. This includes Isgar’s two sons, both of who have been active in the Cadet program since its inception. Multiple full-time members step up to assist and run Cadet/RAM training sessions. Many are past RAMS and now are “paying it forward” by giving of their time.

Isgar truly enjoys his role as the “soul” of the Cadet program. Not only does he direct the program, but he also is involved in teaching the skills required for the New York State Firefighter 1. He is preparing youth to be the future forces in the fire service for years to come.

Adapted from nominations by Howlett Hill FD District Chief John Harris, Jr. and President Frank A. Valls

Past Award Recipients

2019 Jerry Presta East Norwich Fire Co.