On Friday June 16th the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department held its annual banquet at the Red Fox restaurant in Saranac Lake.
The banquet is the one time of the year where we gather to say thank you to the volunteers and especially their families for all of their sacrifices made during the previous year. It is also a time of special recognition for those who have gone above and beyond.
The following were awarded annual service pins for reaching 5 year landmarks.
5 Years of Service: Brendan Woodard
10 Years of Service: Bill Madden
20 Years of Service: Casey Taylor
40 Years of Service: Mike Boon
45 Years of Service: Kent Robinson
50 Years of Service: Ken McLaughlin
Awards and recognition is given to the top responders in the department. For the year beginning on April 1st 2016 to March 31st 2017 there were 310 fire calls.
The Top responders were
Number 1 Ken McLaughlin with 171 responses
Number 2 Casey Taylor with 158 responses
Number 3 Brendan Keough with 130 responses
Number 4 James D’Ambro with 110 responses
Number 5 Doug Peck with 95 responses
The Chiefs Award is awarded by the Chief to the member who made the most significant contribution to the department during the year. This award was established in 1989 by Past Chief Don Duso. The member is given a plaque and a perpetual plaque with each recipient is also maintained at the fire house. This year’s recipient was Head Fire Driver Rick Yorkey. Rick was cited for exceptional dedication to the department, Rick continually contributes to the running, maintaining, well being and leadership of the department. This year specifically Rick was recognized for a huge effort in overseeing the specifications and coordination of replacing multiple apparatus. In the recent past the SLVFD has revitalized its fleet of vehicles to include the purchase of our new Engine 141, conversion of old 141 to a rescue pumper 143, new purchase of our brush truck 148, new purchase of our tanker 145, and the search and purchase of our air boat. Rick also coordinated with vendors to help in the sale of our old ETA 143, ETA 145, and Misc. 341. The hours put into this revitalization was enormous and thanks to Ricks dedication SLVFD’s fleet is amongst the best and most modern in the area.
The Ruth King Valor and Community Service Award is a very special award that is presented to a community member each year who has demonstrated exceptional support to the SLVFD. It is named after Ruth King who was the subject of a dramatic rescue from the 1964 St. Regis Hotel fire by Past Chief Preston Burl. This year’s recipient is Barbara Kent. For as many years as anyone can remember Barb has been a very vocal advocate of the department. Even though Barb is vocal in her support; what is really special is her quiet actions when we have had a bad call. Without asking, Barb has been known to empty her own cabinets at her house, drop everything and create meals on a moments notice when we most need them, when we are tired and stressed. It is hard to articulate how comforting it is to have someone like Barb just be there with a nice hot meal and a smile when we really need it.
In addition to our regular awards a special presentation was made in honor of Ken McLaughlin’s completion of 50 years of service. 50 years of service is certainly noteworthy, but the fact that our 50-year member is also our top responder is incredible. Ben Wheeler who serves as the Deputy Chief of Special Operations for the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control made presentation on behalf of both the OFPC and the Fireman’s Association of the State of NY recognizing Kens service. Ken was also recognized by the SLVFD with a very special plaque.
We are very proud of our members and their service. It is our honor to recognize that service and special achievement each year at our banquet. It is also our honor to provide a nice night out for the family members supporting the volunteers. They also sacrifice so much every time their member has to be away for training, meetings, work details, and responding to emergencies.