GOSHEN – Orange County Executive Edward A. Diana and Deputy Commissioner of Fire Services Vini Tankasali recently held a roundtable discussion at the Emergency Services Center in Goshen with 15 Orange County firefighters, representing some of the 17 fire departments who participated in 19 separate 72 hour deployments to Long Island, New York during Hurricane Sandy.
"You do an incredible job for our residents here all year long, and yet still found the time to help those who were in need," said County Executive Diana. "Thank you for your hard work and to your families for their sacrifices."
Through the New York State Fire Marshal Aid plan, resources from Orange County were called upon to assist towns in Nassau and Suffolk counties that were devastated by Hurricane Sandy and required assistance to handle storm related fires and emergencies, as well as day to day calls.
"On top of their normal daily duties, these brave firefighters went above and beyond," said Deputy Commissioner Tankasali. "It is a true testament to the Orange County Fire Services."
In one of the first deployments, the Walden Fire Department traveled to the hamlet of Oceanside in the town of Hempstead after the local fire fighters had received 700 calls. The locals were so happy to see the Orange County firefighters that people lined up to shake their hands, knowing "we didn’t have to come," and "we were there on our own time."
The Unionville Fire Department was deployed to East Rockaway in Nassau County and said that the south side of the village was so dark that when their deployment was coming to an end, the local residents "didn’t want us to go."
Stationed in Seaford, Long Island, the Greenwood Lake Fire Department responded to numerous calls regarding carbon monoxide exposure, and experienced an "extremely appreciative" public.
The Fire Departments and members who participated in the roundtable included: Lieutenant Katie Judson of Bullville; Chief John Rader, Lieutenant John Rader, Steve Defeo and Edward Jablonowski of Greenwood Lake; Jason Sweetman and Wayne Watkins of Unionville; Chief Bob Lynn, Lieutenant Jim Totonis and Gary Kacanich of Walden; and Chief Andrew Colurciello, Chris Leonido, Matt Gayton, DJ Golden and Tom Lopez, Sr. of Winona Lake.