Six members of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department with a combined 250 years of service were recognized by the department and the Connecticut General Assembly at the department’s annual dinner recently.
Joining Orange firefighters at the dinner were fire and EMS officers from surrounding towns, Orange Police Chief Robert Gagne, Orange Selectwoman Judy W. Williams, State Rep. Charles Ferraro (R-117) and State Sen. James Maroney (D-14).
Ferraro and Maroney brought special resolutions from the legislature acknowledging years of service for six members. They were:
George Geane, 25 years of service; Secretary Peter Daniel and David Gagel, 40 years; Ken Mitchell Jr., 45 years; Deputy Chief Charles Sherwood, 50 years; Fred Palmer, 55 years.
Other firefighters receiving recognition included:
Five years of service: Lt. Daniel Abrams, Lt. Eric Auscavitch, Executive Board member Steven Bernadini, Klevis Kimca
10 years: Capt. Daniel Cole, Capt. Joe Duplinsky, Corresponding Secretary Lisa Kaplan
15 years: Chief Vaughan Dumas, Assistant Chief Dan Johnson, Drew Panapada, Lt. David Tufano
25 years: Stephen Douglas
30 years: John Grasso Sr, Joseph Oleschuk, Roman Oleschuk
Firefighter of the Year: Engineer Robert Panapada
Most Responses: Tom Astram
Special Award: Lt. Eric Auscavitch
Fire Chief Vaughn Dumas, who acted as master of ceremonies, also awarded honorary membership in the association to Joe Davis, Harold Manley and George Rogers. Honorary membership is conferred on people who have supported the fire department in a variety of ways. Rogers operates Rogers Towing.
Dumas acknowledged a donation from the Fire Department Auxiliary. The money, raised through a variety of fundraisers, will be used to purchase rescue equipment for a new fire truck that will be delivered later this year.
Volunteer firefighters in Orange responded to 579 incidents during 2018, said Dumas. That is among the highest in the fire company’s history during a year without a major event such as a hurricane. Dumas also noted that false alarms were down 13 percent.
“The calls we’re getting are more and more challenging,” said Dumas, using automobile accidents as an example. “You can’t just throw down some absorbent material anymore. These jobs often include hazardous materials and other challenges.”
Dumas said addition to responding to alarms, many members completed classes for certifications as firefighters, fire officers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics. He thanked all the town’s active firefighters for their time and hard work.