Recruiting effort underway for more firefighting volunteers
April 25, 2019 06:01 PM
COEYMANS HOLLOW – A volunteer firefighter on the scene in Raymertown this week said he joined up because there was a fire at his house years ago so he wanted to give back. He could be the poster child for this weekend's annual push by the Fireman's Association of the State of New York and its recruitment campaign to get more volunteers.
"This is an opportunity to serve your community, to improve yourself being a volunteer," said Jerry DeLuca, FASNY Director of Outreach and Coeymans Hollow FD President. "We'll train you, we'll teach you, we'll assist you and it does take some time, but it's time well spent and it's time that you'll definitely feel like you've accomplished something when you're done."
DeLuca followed his father and uncles who joined the fire department. He's been a volunteer for 37 years as well as a police officer.
"It's a family affair," DeLuca said. "I saw an opportunity to serve the community and I took it."
However, FASNY's John D'Alessandro flipped the script.
"Usually sons follow fathers, well I followed my son," D'Alessandro said.
His son had joined a firefighting Explorer Post and D'Alessandro made him a promise that if he stuck with it, he'd take the test, too.
"On his 16th birthday he said 'Dad, you promised.' And about a month later he and I were in a Firefighter 1 class," D'Alessandro said. "I was 52 years old doing this with 18-19 year olds so Tylenol became one of my best friends."
D'Alessandro lived a mile from the firehouse. Now he and his son and daughter are all part of the Halfmoon Fire Department.
"I drove by it every day and never found that one hour to stop in and see if I could be of some use to my community," D'Alessandro said. "When I joined at 52 years old, I had one big regret, that I hadn't done it sooner."
This weekend, more than 600 firehouses around the state will hold open houses. Click here for the full list.
Updated: April 25, 2019 06:01 PM
Created: April 25, 2019 12:25 PM
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