SLVFD holds annual banquet, annual awards announced
By SLVFD News Room
May 22, 2024

On Friday May 17th The SLVFD held its annual banquet at the Red Fox restaurant in Saranac Lake.

The annual banquet is a time for the volunteers to take just a little time away from the stressors associated with the daily lives of being first responders.

A key word in our titles is “volunteer” and we should take a moment to recognize, that in addition to all the work these volunteers do for the SLVFD without renumeration, they are also juggling additional roles as family members, moms, dads, coaches, students, business owners, and employees who you see in your daily lives around the community.

The banquet is our time to formally say thank you for the sometimes extreme efforts put forth by the volunteers, honor roll members, and community members who directly support the SLVFD. The banquet is also perhaps, even more importantly time to recognize and thank our family members who sacrifice so much each and every time their volunteer is away at training, meetings, work bees, and when the pager tones for an actual emergency. That pager toned 369 times from April of 2023 through March of 2024.

The format of our banquet is actually quite simple but very meaningful. Following a social hour volunteers and families enjoy a nice meal, followed by an awards ceremony. The awards are listed below. Following the awards a year in review slide show is presented which can be viewed in the link below.

Below are this years awards:

As a special presentation, Chief Knapp presented past Chief Keough with a white chiefs helmet. This helmet is significant because it had only ever been worn by Chief Keough during his 14 years as Chief.

Years of Service Pins are awarded in five year increments, This years pins were awarded to:

Ryan Schneider - 5 Years
Brendan Keough - 35 Years

Top 5 Responders: Top 5 responders are recognized and receive a special gift.

1. Nate Jones 200 of 369 calls
2. Michael Knapp 183 of 369 calls
3. Brendan Keough 123 of 369 calls
4. Adam Mayville 123 of 369 calls
5. Andrea Boon 113 of 369 calls

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 recipients are Jeff and Cathy Romano of "Romano's Saranac Lanes" Jeff and Cathy have been strong supporters of the SLVFD. The Romano's have provided support by providing food, sponsoring a fund raising bowling tournament, and by sponsoring a first responders appreciation day. They are true friends of the SLVFD and we are honored to recognize the support they provide through this award.

The Volunteer of the Year Award: was instituted in 2023 by Chief Brendan Keough. The volunteer of the year award seeks to recognize a volunteer who continuously and consistently proves to be reliable in terms of attendance, effort, and willingness to participate in all labors associated with the SLVFD. This award is for that volunteer who can always be relied on to be present when needed. For all of the above reasons this years recipient of this award is Andrea Boon. In addition to all of her normal fire department duties, Andrea is also an active member of our dive team, is active in organizing our holiday parties, this banquet, and is very active in parades, honor guard, and all aspects of the department.

The Chiefs Award: is awarded annually by the chief of the department to the person he or she considers to have made the most outstanding contribution to the department during the course of the preceding year. Instituted in 1989 by Chief Don Duso, "Chiefs Award" recipients are honored at our annual banquet with a plaque. A perpetual plaque is also maintained at the fire house listing all previous recipients of the award.

This year Chief Knapp is honoring a member who has been on the naming side of this award for the past 14 years as Chief of the department. This years Chief Award recipient is Brendan Keough.

Brendan is a 35 year member of the SLVFD who has selflessly served as a firefighter. and in all line officer positions up to and including Chief. He has served as a diver and currently serves as Captain of the dive team. During Brendan's 14 year tenure as Chief, the SLVFD has undergone vast modernization of apparatus, equipment, training, and operating procedures.

At 14 years, Brendan currently holds the record as longest standing Chief the SLVFD. During that time period the SLVFD responded to 4,269 fire calls. Brendan may have stepped down from the Chiefs position, however, he continues to be an active firefighter and remains a senior member and mentor within the department.

In addition to the Chiefs award, the members of the SLVFD also presented Brendan with a customized cornhole board and bean bag set.

We are very proud of our members and award recipients. We hope this article helps illustrate the amount of work being done on behalf of the safety of our community. We as volunteers consider it an honor and would not have it any other way.