CHERRY CREEK - The Cherry Creek Volunteer Fire Department recently honored its volunteers with a banquet held at the Cherry Creek VFW Post 2522, Route 83, in the village.
President John Lukaszewski welcomed honored guests and friends of the department: Steve Rexford, Ellington fire chief, and his wife, Deb; Jay Lyndsley, Leon chief, and his wife, Christine; Bob Trabar, South Dayton second assistant chief, and his wife, Phyllis; Doug Goodwill, Sinclairville assistant chief, and his wife, Cindy; and Ray MacKay, Conewango chief, and his wife, Deb.
Lukaszewski then announced the fire district commissioners who are: Skip Weaver, president; Ed Sarno, secretary; Tom Waag, treasurer; Rick Young, Jim Steward and Kirk Hoth.
Raymond Sheldon Jr. is recognized by New York State Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean, for 55 years of service to the Cherry Creek Volunteer Fire Department.
P-J photo by Sue Ann Fish
Announced as directors of the fire department for this year are: Jerry Abers, Jeff Steward, Jennifer Rexford, Dean Mount and Don Blair.
The department officers are: James Bostaph, chief; Terry Sheldon, first assistant chief; Duane Miller, second assistant chief; Raymond Sheldon Jr., fire police captain; Darlene Morrison, first aid captain; Lukaszewski, president; Sally Aldrich, vice president; Sarno, secretary; Waag, treasurer; Mia Abbey, recording secretary; and Skip Weaver and Jim Chamberlin, auditors.
Sheldon Jr. honored the awards for years of service to: Abbey, five years; William Dennis, five years; Hoth, 25 years; Robbie Frost, 40 years; and Lawrence Hodges, 55 years.
New York State Sen. Cathy Young was present to honor Sheldon Jr. for his 55 years of service.
"I have the best job in the world," Young said to a rousing round of applause. "I get to represent the best people in the world - the people from the Empire State of New York."
She and Sheldon went on to joke about plans for their next meeting - the Independence Day Celebration in Cherry Creek, in which Sheldon customarily wears his fire engine red long johns while pulling a piece of Cherry Creek's very early firefighting equipment.
Officers of the fire department auxiliary were announced by Aldrich, president, and they are: Eileen Gay, vice president; Pattie Lukaszewski, secretary; and Betty Lou Milspaw, treasurer.
Dustin Sheldon and Mackenzie Miller were recognized as members of the junior fire department.
Guest speaker for the evening was Noel Guttman, coordinator of the Technical Rescue Team.
Defined as a team specializing in vehicle, water, farm machinery, rope, collapse, confined space and trench rescue, the team was established by the Chautauqua County Legislature, and is composed of members of the 42 departments in the county. They are lauded for being fast - for every two men inside a building, they have two men outside ready to rescue them. They train from 180 feet up while working with one of their most important pieces of equipment - a rope.
The team assists with shoring up a building after a fire, by bringing Para Tech struts to stabilize the structure. They bring tools necessary to aid victims trapped in vehicles, and a myriad of other duties to assist the firefighters on the frontlines. Membership in the Technical Rescue Team is open to any active member of a fire department with an FF1 or equivalent. Members may participate in all forms of technical, or any in particular, or they may join just to be a support to the team.