KENNEDY - The Kennedy Volunteer Fire Department held its annual banquet recently, celebrating 86 years of service to the community.
Following the theme of classic Hollywood movies, the hall was decorated with reminders of many different films and stars of different eras. There was even a "red carpet" walkway down the middle of the room, with "walk of fame" stars on either side, with the names of honored guests and dignitaries.
Starting out the evening, department members and guests enjoyed a meal catered by Miley's.
Following the meal, Master of Ceremonies Ed Hoene introduced the evening's guests. 4th Battalion Coordinator Anthony Cavallaro thanked the members of the Kennedy Fire Department for their excellent work. Lisa Vanstrom, aide to state Sen. Cathy Young, represented Sen. Young at then event. Fire chiefs from the four mutual aid companies also attended; Bryce Webster from Falconer, Don McElwain from Randolph, Bob Elderkin from Frewsburg, and Dimmer Shaw from Ellington. Chief McElwain gave heartfelt thanks for all the support the Kennedy department had given, especially after the tornado on July 24, 2010, and the severe snow storms in early December. Representing the Town of Poland were Highway Supervisor Larry Mee and Town of Poland Supervisor James Cooper.
Hoene then introduced Kennedy Fire Chief Greg Scott. Scott introduced his line officers for 2011. 1st Assistant Chief is Bruce Caswell. 2nd Assistant Chief is Ed Hoene. The Rescue Captains are Ryan Swanson and Ken Harrower. Keith Bean is WS-474 Captain. Dave Huber is E-472 Captain, and E-473 Captain is Josh Bennett. Jon Payne is the Fire Police Captain, and Vern Terrill is the Chaplain.
Chief Hoene led a moment of silence for deceased members Vern Crandall Sr. and Mike Warholic. Both men were vibrant supporters of the Kennedy Fire Department and the community, and will be greatly missed.
The executive officers for 2011 are Barb Burdic, President; her Vice President is Ken Blitz. Dawn Sholl is the Secretary, and Jon Payne is the Treasurer. Ms Burdic spoke about some of the history of the department, and acknowledged the service of past active members who are now social members.
One highlight of the evening was the awarding of Fireman of the Year. Chief Scott stated that the person had been on more than 200 EMS calls during the year, as well as other calls, and was always quick to get to the scene. Josh Bennett received a standing ovation when his name was announced. Bennett was one of the original members of the Kennedy Junior Fire Fighters, and like many, has gone on to become an active member. He is the first to be named a line officer of the department. He also is part of a family tradition of service to the community.
The second highlight of the evening was the awarding of a service pin to Tom Ormond for his 50-year membership in the Kennedy Fire Department. Chief Scott listed many of the achievements Ormond has attained, while maintaining the family dairy farm, raising a family, and being very active in the community. After department awards, a special proclamation from state Sen. Cathy Young was read by Ms. Vanstrom, outlining all the may milestones Ormond was noted for, and congratulating him on his 50 years with the Kennedy Fire Department. Ormond had an emotional response to all the recognition. He stated that he thought he'd gotten more out of his years in the department than he had put into it. The standing ovation from all attending told a tale of exceptional gratitude for such a loyal member of the community.
Following all the awards, the fun began. Door prizes were awarded. Then the music took control. Dan Warren used his disc jockey skills to keep everyone entertained, and played a wide variety of music that had all ages trying out the dance floor. Warren even got out from behind his equipment to teach a couple routines to an enthusiastic troupe.