The Chief's Corner
June 10, 2017 – The Greenfield Fire District would like to congratulate Firefighters Owen Mullen and Eric Petkus on their recent graduation from Firefighter 1/BEFO-IFO Training. Since January, both firefighters have spent over 130 hours training multiple weeknights and weekends to become proficient in all aspects of what it takes to be an interior firefighter. As volunteers, this requires a tremendous amount of commitment, dedication and time away from their families and friends. The knowledge and experience they have gained by participating in this valuable training will help them confidently and competently protect the residents of the Greenfield Fire District. Congratulations Firefighters Mullen and Petkus on this amazing accomplishment!
March 15, 2017 – The Greenfield Fire District would like to congratulate the following members for completing and passing the NYS EMT Training class: LT Mike Bogardus, FF Sara Bogardus, FF Tyler Bennett and FF Gavin Alger. Over the past six months these members dedicated their personal time to attend training class twice a week to complete over 100 hours of classroom and practical education to prepare them to take the NYS Written and Practical Test. This is a great accomplishment and the District is proud to welcome them into the ranks of our EMTs.
February 4, 2017 – Chief Justin Burwell’s 70th Anniversary Installation Inspection Welcome Speech
Good Evening Everybody
Welcome to the Officers installation banquet:
I would like to take time to recognize and thank the neighboring chiefs and their departments that provide support to the Greenfield Fire District.
At this time I would like to introduce the Company Chiefs and they will introduce their officers. Deputy Chief Bryan Chouinard, Deputy Chief Dave Middlebrook, Deputy Chief Jay Ellsworth, Deputy Chief Duane Bogardus.
2016 for the Greenfield Fire District has had its share of ups and downs. January looked to start out quite for us as we were getting to work on some projects in the district we wanted to accomplish. Then … at the end of January; the shoe dropped and in a very short period of time we had multiple serious calls. I have learned a few things from last year that I take with me into this year. First, keeping my mouth shut when it comes to saying things are “quiet” in the district. Second, when put to a task; the Membership comes together and gets the job done like non other and I am extremely proud of everyone for that. It humbles to be able to stand here as Chief of, in my eyes the most dedicated, professional and for lack of better words humble fire district in the county or state for that matter. Thank you again for electing me to lead this district for 2017. It is an honor that I don’t take lightly and learned a lot from last year.
When you get elected to a Chief Officer’s position and having moved up the ranks, sometimes things can be overwhelming at first. What I learned this past year is that the person makes the position and not the other way around. My goal was and is to lead by example and to be fair to every member of the district equally. I can say this year that one of those goals I failed at. While trying to be fair across the board I did in turn hold certain people to a higher standard than others. The reason for this was because these were the people I leaned on a lot. I wanted them to be perfect at everything. I know that nothing is ever perfect and we should strive for excellence instead of perfection. To those who; I won’t call you out tonight but… you know who you are; thank you for being there for me and not running away when things got tough for us.
I would like to again thank my parents for supporting me in this endeavor in life. For me the firehouse has been the most consistent thing over the years with the one exception of my family. I have changed jobs again this year, as most of you know, and it’s a lot easier to find me during the day now which can be both a good and bad thing depending on the day. To my wife; my rock that keeps me motivated to strive for excellence in everything. The one who stands there to tell me I am only human and can’t fix everything; thank you. Being in this position as all the Chiefs and officers in this room can tell you takes a lot of time out of your personal life. I mean really, do Chief Officers have a personal life when it comes to meetings, drills, calls and special events; it acts as a full time job on top of whatever you do to pay the bills. I am extremely fortunate to have a wife that enjoys a lot of that same things I do and can accompany me in a lot of the same activities that we have both come to enjoy and not going to lie sometimes hate. My advice to everybody in the room, that I have learned this year in order to keep my sanity is to find a hobby/stress reliever that you can do that takes your mind off everything in life, if only for a short period of time.
In my final remarks tonight I am going to pull something from Chief Reid’s book that is for everybody to think about. A quote from Theodore Roosevelt when asked what the difference between a leader and a boss he said the leader leads and the boss drives. My goal for 2017 will be to make more leaders in the district then bosses. Thank you all for attending tonight and enjoy the evening.
2017 District Award Recipients
In 2015 Commissioner Sadousky drafted an awards policy that in turn was adopted by the BoFC to give recognition to members of the district. At the end of 2016 during one of my Chiefs meetings we voted as a district to award recognition in the following categories tonight. EMS member of the year, Probationary member of the year, Officer of the year and Firefighter or the year. For Reference the District responded to 1,002 calls for 2016 of them 96 Fire, 2 over pressure/rupture, 550 rescue/ medical assist, 78 hazardous conditions, 39 service calls, 55 good intent calls, 179 false alarms, 2 special weather events and 1 special event.
EMS Member of the year: This year’s EMS member of the year is Captain Nate King from Company 4. Over the past year one thing that stood out to me and other Chiefs in the room is Captain King’s dedication to the residents of the Greenfield Fire District. Daytime for anybody in the district, county or state is a tough time to get members to devote time to calls and still be able to balance their own responsibilities in life. Captain King responded to 337 calls for 2016 and we thank him for his dedication to the District.
Probationary Member of the year: This year’s Probationary member of the year is Firefighter Brandon Murray. FF B Murray stood out as being interested and willing to learn what it takes to become a volunteer firefighter. As any member in this district will tell you the new members today have a long road ahead of them to become an active firefighter. Between our own in-house new member orientation program, the state requirements for firefighters, which has now changed again and is well over 100 hours to complete, and our district requirement to maintain an average grade in school of 65 or better. FF B Murray responded to 88 calls for 2016 and we thank him for his dedication to the District.
Officer of the year: This year’s officer of the year is Captain Derrick Barss. Captain Barss is as most of you know a member and officer of Company 2. I think what has stood out most with him being chosen was the dedication he has in training and mentoring new members, new officers and potential officer. Over the years Captain Barss and I have spent a lot of time together both as line officers at company 2; working together at the town and the countless phone calls discussing things going on and making plans for the future. What stands out the most to me about Derrick other than being nervous about everything and his habit of over thinking things to the extreme, I’m not going to lie, and my wife will tell you, I do the same thing; the thing that stands out the most is his honesty to the job. If asked he will tell you he has no intentions or plans of ever becoming a chief because he loves the job of being a captain leading and training the members to be the best in the business. Captain Barss responded to 176 calls for 2016 and we thank him for his dedication to the District.
Firefighter of the year: Up until now I have told you who the person was right away that was getting the award but for this one I am going to explain what the thoughts were for the Chiefs in having this member be the 2016 firefighter of the year. With over 120 members of the Greenfield Fire District it’s not an easy task to pick one person that stands out over the rest. So what makes one member stand out over others? Is it being a leader when they could just follow? Is it following the rules while still getting the job done? Or is it when in the face of adversary still maintaining composure and not accepting that failure is an option. This year we had a member which found himself fighting literally for his life for not just days or weeks but over the course of multiple years. While this member was struggling with a medical condition, he still found a way to dedicate part of his life to the Greenfield Fire District. As I’m sure all of you are aware now this year’s firefighter of the year for 2016 is Firefighter George Miller. George was diagnosed with Leukemia a few years back and from what I understand there was only one cure a stem cell transplant. At the beginning of 2016 George received that transplant from a donor match that was across the globe. Over the next few months George stayed out in Boston a lot. One thing that stood out with the help of I Am Responding was that George stayed informed and engaged in the events going on in the fire district. While fighting for his life George still wanted to put the members and district priority above his own needs. We were fortunate to be able to welcome him home from his long time spent in Boston with a small parade to his house once he entered the district and make sure he knew we were as a district behind him 110%. Over 2016 things continued to improve, allowing George to come back to active status and be engaged with events and alarms going on, all while still having to travel to Boston usually on Thursdays. I always look forward to the reports George would post on Facebook of the progress he made. In 2016 FF George Miller still managed to respond to 111 alarms and be an active part of the truck committee in Middle Grove in which we took delivery of last year of the new ETA 28-2. I personally thank George on behalf of the Officers and Members of the fire district and congratulate him on being named 2016 Firefighter of the year.
May 23, 2016 – Congratulations to Maple Avenue Fire Company #4 Firefighter Connor Krueger! Connor was the second runner up to receive the Matthew W. Phillips Memorial award. This award is given to a volunteer fire fighter from either Fulton or Saratoga County who is graduating high school, and is in memory of Matthew Phillips, who was a fourth generation fire fighter who tragically lost his life in a motorcycle accident on July 5th 2014.
March 19, 2016 – Congratulations to one of own, Maple Avenue Fire Company #4 firefighter Victoria Cunningham! Victoria is one of only four recipients in all of New York State to receive the Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York “Ned Carter” Scholarship Award.
This scholarship is available to New York State High School Seniors who will be graduating in June of 2016. The student must be related to a firefighter, be a firefighter, or be an explorer in a fire department, that is a member of The Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York.
This scholarship is named in memory of Past President Edward “Ned” Carter and all deceased past presidents of the State Association. In keeping with Ned’s life of community service and dedication to helping others, this award is presented to those young people who will be pursuing a post-secondary career in the community service – related areas of endeavor at either a two- or four-year college next year.
After graduating from Saratoga Springs High School, this fall Victoria will go on to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, and will be studying Chemical Engineering.
Way to go Victoria!