2022 Convention Recap

The largest gathering of volunteer firefighters in the State drew a sold-out crowd of more than 500 to Tarrytown on August 10-13. The Annual FASNY Convention was the peak of the Association’s 150th anniversary celebration, with plenty of special programming throughout.

The agenda kicked off Wednesday morning, August 10, with the Opening Session that included remarks by New York Governor Kathy Hochul.
 
“This is 150 years of an extraordinary organization … It’s not just what you do every day, but the advocacy of this organization in Albany,” Hochul said. “You’re fighting for important legislation that, if it wasn’t for this group, we wouldn’t know how critically important it is.”
 
She went on to name the Recruitment and Retention Task Force, EMS Cost Recovery and the Gap Coverage Cancer Benefit as examples of this advocacy for a critical cause.
 
“91,000 people have answered the call to serve their communities,” Hochul said. “I always take the opportunity to honor the [volunteer firefighter] families … We cherish what they do.
 
“I also want to recognize the sacrifices involved … Sometimes the loss of life,” she said. “I just want to pass on the love of 20 million new Yorkers, who are so grateful that there are people out there [like you] … without you, we don’t sleep safely at night.”
 
Other government officials making appearances included State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, who both gave thanks for the sacrifices volunteer firefighters make to protect their communities. Their and other dignitaries’ speeches were followed by the Annual Memorial Service, a longstanding tradition at Convention.
 
The Heroes Awards honored the late Jared Lloyd of the Spring Valley Fire Department as Firefighter of the Year as well as the EMS Providers of the Year Tom Bingham and Shawn DiSanto of the Aurelius Volunteer Fire Department.
 
Keynote Speaker Michael Dugan, retired FDNY Captain, took the dais in the afternoon to talk about lessons learned from his experience in the fire service. He opened by challenging the crowd with the question, “What are you doing to make the fire service better?”
 
“The No. 1 mission of the fire service is to make sure everyone goes home,” Dugan said. “We are here to put out the fire and be safe and I hope that’s the plan.”
 
He went on to say one of the biggest threats to firefighters, besides cancer and heart disease, is PTSD and other mental health issues.
 
“I think that we as the fire service are not talking enough about mental health,” Dugan said before sharing his own story. “We have to talk about this.”
 
He went on to say the average person experiences four traumatic events in a lifetime. That number is over 200 for first responders.
 
“Time does not heal PTSD,” Dugan said. “That’s why it’s particularly important to seek help. There are treatment options.”
 
The 2% Tax Forum highlighted the following afternoon of Thursday, August 11. A sold-out Dinner Cruise around Manhattan marked the 70th annual Past Presidents Celebration on Thursday night.
 
Friday, August 12, brought two training programs that drew good attendance. Whitesboro Fire Department Past Chief Brian McQueen and Cicero Fire Department Assistant Chief Jon Barrett presented “So, You Want to Climb the Ladder?” FASNY General Counsel Tim Hannigan, Terry Hannigan and FASNY Treasurer Sean Kerwin presented “Introduction to Fire Company Director and Officer Training.” The always-popular Gerard J. Buckenmeyer Memorial Scholarship Night fundraiser and networking event capped off Friday evening.
 
Convention drew to a close the morning of Saturday, August 13, highlighted by the installation of FASNY officers: New President Edward Tase, Jr.; First Vice President Eugene J. Perry, Jr.; Second Vice President Santo S. “Chan” Rivera; Director Kenneth J. Holmes, Sr.; and Home Trustee David Lapinski. John P. Farrell, Jr. officially became Immediate Past President.
 
“It has really been an honor to serve you as the 149th President of this esteemed organization,” Farrell said in his final President’s Report. “I can’t say enough to the Board of Directors, Trustees, office staff, Committees … it has been a great ride.”
 
The 150th anniversary festivities culminated Saturday afternoon in Tarrytown, where a well-attended Full Dress Parade featuring dozens of departments was hosted on Main Street.