By Karen Carr Keefe
Senior Contributing Writer
Adams Fire Co. in Wheatfield has already had success in its recruitment efforts this year.
Three new recruits are joining the ranks of volunteer firefighters, as of Wednesday, in ceremonies at the firehall on Nash Road.
Andrew Ranaletti and Kanjih Cederman were sworn in. The third recruit, Benjamin Gornbein, was not available to attend this week’s ceremony.
Fire Chief Don Lauer said that, when the open houses didn’t draw enough new recruits, the company decided to bring its plea to the neighborhoods through a program called “14 Neighborhoods in 12 Weeks.”
Lauer said Cederman and Gornbein found out about the recruitment drive through the neighborhood visits, and Ranaletti through a mailing the fire company did.
Lauer said the company now stands at 44 members, and the goal is to get up to 50.
He said the recruitment effort continues in the neighborhoods.
“We’re looking forward to meeting residents and getting all the misconceptions out of the way to let them know what it really takes and how little time you have to put in to be an active member here,” Lauer said.
Ranaletti described what drew him to volunteer.
“I like to help the community and I’m really familiar with Wheatfield,” he said. “It always intrigued me.
He is a barber in his shop on Porter Road in Niagara Falls and also works in the family’s restaurant, Viola’s, on Military Road in Niagara Falls.
“I’m making subs, cutting hair – and now firefighting,” Ranaletti said.
Cederman is a Buddhist priest as well as a new volunteer firefighter.
“Actually, I’ve known the people of Adams my whole life,” he said. Cederman just moved back from Seattle about a year and a half ago to help his father, who was in ill health. He said the Adams Fire Co. was helpful to his parents while he was out of town.
“My mom had always said that she always appreciated Adams, and I was always interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter,” Cederman said.
He received a pamphlet saying the company looking for members – “and support my community; that’s why I joined.”
Women fill some key roles within the company. Among women at the station, there is an EMS captain, a lieutenant and two firefighters.
Neighborhood Outreach Schedule
Volunteer firefighters visit neighborhoods either at 6 p.m. Saturdays or 1 p.m. Sundays. The visits continue through Aug. 27.
The remaining neighborhood outreach events include:
√ Saturday, Aug. 5, at 6 p.m., on Concord/Knottingwood/Woodside/Ontario
√ Sunday, Aug. 13, at 1 p.m., on Townline Road at the old Gypsum plant; and at 2:30 p.m. on Meadowbrook Drive
√ Saturday, Aug. 19, at 6 p.m., on Spice Creek and Katie Drive
√ Sunday, Aug. 27, at 1 p.m., on Knoll and Evergreen; and at 2:30 p.m. on Arnold Drive (Lockport Avenue residents can come to the Arnold Drive outreach)
From left, Adams Fire Co. President James Mihalko, new recruits Andrew Ranaletti and Kanjih Cederman, and Fire Chief Don Lauer, at ceremonies to swear in the new recruits on Wednesday.