Hundreds turned out for the largest gathering of volunteer firefighters in the State at the 146th Annual FASNY Convention, August 9-12 in Syracuse.
Things opened up with Committee meetings and the Past President All-You-Can Clam Bake on Thursday, August 9, with the official Convention kickoff happening Friday.
Chief Bobby Halton gave a fiery keynote that strongly affirmed volunteer firefighter values during The Opening Session.
“Duty, honor, country, God. These values need no explanation, need no apologies,” Halton said.
The Fire Engineering magazine Editor in Chief and Education Director of the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) described the “sacred covenant” that volunteers have with their communities.
“We don’t like helping people. We must help people. We are obligated to help people,” Halton said. “True firefighters embrace this obligation; embrace the opportunity to be part of that community.
“Having obligation is what makes life meaningful,” he said. “We have freely chosen to fight for these sacred ideals … that takes vintage moral character.”
Keeping with the unofficial Convention theme of recruitment, he urged the Association to concern itself with quality over quality.
“I want you to raise your standards to get the very best … those who are morally grounded and spiritually prepared,” Halton said.
Check out the 2018 Keynote Speaker, Chief Bobby Halton
Halton was one of several guest speakers who represented FASNY counterparts including the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York, County Fire Coordinators Association of the State New York and the Volunteer Fire Police Association of the State of New York. The New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control was also represented.
“We’re all experiencing the same thing,” New York State Association of Fire Chiefs President Julius Leone said. “We all recognize there’s not a single fire station in New York State that isn’t looking for new members.”
He and others stressed the importance of youth programs in helping solve the recruitment puzzle. Appropriately, Convention opened with the premiere of a new video promoting just that.
Check out the 2018 Youth in the Fire Service Video
“We all have to come to the realization that we all need to work harder to bring young people into our departments,” President of the New York Association of Fire Districts President Tom Rinaldi said. “The youth are our future.”
Opening Session gave Annual Youth Day, now in its 10th year, all the more importance. Just under 50 youth came from all over the state to sharpen their skills and build relationships with fellow Juniors, Explorers and RAMs.
“It’s different from what we typically do,” said CJ Roziock, 15, of the Baldwinsville Fire Department. “It’s a special day.”
Roziock grew up around the firehouse, so getting involved was a natural progression. But, there were also plenty of non-legacy participants around the Syracuse Fire Department Training Facility.
“A friend told me about it,” said Kim Mai, 17, of the Mattydale Fire Department, which hosted Juniors from the Long Island department of West Babylon the night before. “I fell in love with it. It is a really good experience.”
Back at Convention headquarters at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, adult firefighters attended several educational sessions. Topics included extrication and fireground tactics as well as firefighter and EMT roles in homeland security.
The training series wrapped up Saturday with a panel discussion addressing “Issues Facing the Fire Service” and the Gerard J. Buckenmeyer Scholarship Night entertained attendees that night. The announcement of a generous $17,942 donation to FASNY from winemaker and Convention sponsor Josh Cellars gave extra reason for celebration.
Convention closed Sunday with an Interfaith Service followed by the inductions of Steven E. Klein as President, John P. Farrell, Jr. as First Vice President and Edward Tase, Jr. as Second Vice President. Also sworn in were Directors Laurie M. Hance and Michael K. Krummenacker as well as Firemen’s Home Trustees Gerard Owenburg, Michael J. De Vittorio, Martin J. Thomas and Anthony J. DeMarco.
In an emotional presentation, the Rev. Wayne F. Jagow was granted the title Chaplain Emeritus and further honored as the new namesake of the Chapel at the Firemen’s Home.
2018 FASNY Convention Recap Video
More highlights from the 2018 FASNY Convention
Rev. Wayne F. Jagow Announcement
Josh Cellars Donation