FASNY members from across the state joined Association leadership in Albany for the 143rd annual celebration of the volunteer fire service August 18-22 at Convention.
Volunteer firefighters walked the exhibition floor, attended training sessions and enjoyed many other events, including the inaugural Michael D. Whelan Walk in the Park.
More than 100 walked in memory of late FASNY Secretary Whelan to benefit the Firefighter Cancer Support Network. The event tied in to this year’s Convention theme: “A Healthy Firefighter Is Everyone’s Fight.”
President Robert N. McConville kept his health and wellness initiative on the forefront, unveiling the FASNY Health and Wellness Committee during opening ceremonies Thursday, August 20. The committee includes Dr. Jacqueline M. Moline of Hofstra Northshore – LIJ School of Medicine, Dr. Jamie L. Rockwin of Therapeutic Solutions Physical Therapy, Kerri Winans Kaley of CardiacScan Imaging Services of New York, Kelli LaPage of WellTrail and Alexander Peter Rukh.
President McConville also premiered FASNY’s cancer awareness video. The short film designed to spread the message among firefighters and state legislators features victims and survivors of the illness that has become frighteningly common in the fire service.
President McConville welcomed guest speakers Bryan Frieders of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, Heather Schafer of the National Volunteer Firefighter Council and Bryant D. Stevens of the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
The sold-out Hands-On Training sessions included foam operations demonstrations right in the parking lot of the host Desmond Hotel and Conference Center. Firefighters learned techniques for dealing with aircraft disasters at the sponsoring Albany International Airport. NYS Public Entities Safety Group 497, Task Force Tips and National Foam were additional sponsors of the August 21 event.
Inside the Desmond, about 100 attendees saw presentations on roadway safety during the Sixth Annual Training Series. A second track addressing mental health, leadership, volunteer department culture and recruitment drew as many as 85.
Meanwhile, junior firefighters, Explorers and RAMs were getting hands-on instruction during Youth Day at the sponsoring Rensselaer County Fire Training Center. Alesco Advisors, Wynantskill Fire Department and the New York State Drill Teams Association also sponsored the morning and afternoon of evolutions for youngsters, many of whom also headed back to Convention headquarters to catch the day’s final speaker.
James A. Burns, David Jacobowitz, Michael P. Wutz, Joseph A. Finnegan, Thomas E. Eiswerth, Gunnar L. Neilson and Carl A. Veltri enjoyed a meal, recognition and entertainment at the 64th Annual Past Presidents Dinner.
The Gerard J. Buckenmeyer FASNY Volunteer Scholarship Fund Auction enjoyed a record year, raising well over $11,000.
The Second Annual FASNY Fallen Firefighter Golf Tournament set a new mark for proceeds as well, raising better than $10,000 to split between the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial and National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Delegates wrapped their business up Saturday, August 22, with the re-installation of FASNY Director Edward Tase, Jr. Diana G. Pfersick replaced retiring Director David J. Sweet. FASNY Firemen’s Home Trustee Wayne Butts accepted another term.
Eileen Franks of the state Department of Labor spoke about the Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau (PESH), which is responsible for enforcing OSHA safety and health standards.
A solid crowd of more than 245 turned out to honor the Firefighters and EMS Providers of the Year at the FASNY Heroes Award Ceremony sponsored by VFIS. President McConville was on hand to present Frank Crispin, Steve Zaferakis, Phil Vogt, Ryan Whitmore and Jeremy Corsaro of the Moyers Corners Fire Department with Firefighter of the Year honors. Father-son duo Joel and Andrew Melamed of Albertson Fire Co. accepted the EMS Provider of the Year Award.
With another year of Convention festivities in the books, FASNY looks forward of delivering an even better member experience in the year ahead and for many more to come. Save the date for the 144th annual Convention August 10-13, 2016, in Albany.