by Ray Pauley
Public Information Officer
Grand Island Fire Co.
New York State Fire Training Instructor Mark Butler administered the oath of office to newly elected Grand Island Fire Co. officers on Saturday, Jan. 11, at fire headquarters, 2275 Baseline Road.
Both firematic and administrative officers were sworn to uphold their 2014 community protection duties. Butler was joined by Grand Island town officials, special guests and family members in praising the selfless dedication of these GIFC volunteers.
Board of Directors Chairman Greg Butcher welcomed all those in attendance and expressed heartfelt appreciation for the combined support and sacrifice, which makes the GIFC one of the finest in Western New York.
It was noted that Matt Osinski begins his first term as fire chief and is joined by Deputy Chief Chris Soluri, assistant chiefs Mark Sadkowski and Omar Sortino; fire captains Shawn Kephart, Dan Mathes and John Podlucky; Fire Police Captain Don Portik; and EMS captains Jon Cinelli and Jeremy Pullano. Kevin Koch has also been appointed a day fire captain.
Chuck Picone begins his first term as president and will be assisted by Vice President Mike Dallessandro, Recording Secretary Ambria Tim; Line Secretary Mike Anderson; Financial Secretary Nicole Gerber; Treasurer Tony Mastantuono; and sergeant-at-arms Dave Khreis. Jordain Benoit was newly elected to the board of review.
Greg Butcher was reelected to the board of directors and Pete Coppola was newly elected to a three-year term. Nicole Butcher, president of the GIFC Ladies Auxiliary, introduced her officers: Vice President Heidi Sue McCormick; Secretary Laurie Dombrowski; Treasurer Nancy Amato; Sergeant-at-arms Haneen Shafie; Chaplin Elaine Clark; and trustees Julie Meyer Darcy Golde and Barbara Wilson.
Although many firefighters/medics were about to receive award for 2013 accomplishments above and beyond the call to duty, the real center of attention was 3-year-old Lucas Mondoux, who appeared with his parents, John and Cindy, to thank GIFC personnel whose efforts successfully resuscitated him during a July 6 drowning incident. Past Chief Kevin Koch presented 2013 EMS awards to the life-saving team of John Podlucky, Scott Shaw, Evan Shaw, Shawn Kephart, Don Turner, Rob Cieri, Omar Sortino, Kevin Rustowicz, Chris Soluri and Ambria Tim. GIFC dispatcher Edie Thompson and 10 others also provided ancillary support.
Three other members of an EMS team - Pete Coppola, Pete McMahon and Shawn Kephart - were similarly recognized for their successful efforts in resuscitating a victim in cardiac failure on June 29.
Don Turner was presented with a 2013 Training Excellence Award by Osinski.
2013 recruits who successfully completed a rigorous training regimen were Chris Caruana, Michelle Jones, Russ Perez, Rob Dailey and Lena Dombrowski. Jones was named Recruit of the Year for 2013 because of her outstanding initiative and perseverance.
A 2013 President's Award was presented to Mike Anderson for his over-the-top performance of administrative duties. Nicole Gerber received an additional President's Award for her tireless efforts as chairman of the Fund Drive Committee.
Top 10 responders for 2013 were again led by Ray Pauley with 823 calls. Others in sequential order are Rick Pelham, Pete McMahon, Matt Osinski, Kevin Koch, Pete Coppola, Chris Soluri, Dan Mathes, Chuck Picone and Mark Sadkowski.