Congratulations Firefighter of the Year
What is a firefighter of the year and how does one become one? In 1908 NYC Fire Chief Edward Croaker said the day a person raises their hand and takes the oath to become a firefighter his/her greatest act of bravery has been accomplished.
That was as true in 1908 as it is today. Agreeing to put yourself in harms way, enduring difficult sights and tasks, means that our department and our town has a large number of remarkably brave people.
Verdoy is blessed with an excellent team of firefighters and making the choice to single just one out is a daunting task. Many here tonight are former award recipients or have been considered for honor of firefighter of the year!
The fires service is an incredible brotherhood. A firefighter can walk into almost any station in the world and immediately be treated as a colleague because of the universal understanding of the job. But to be a firefighter means more than having good skills. It means being there for their brothers/sisters. It means being willing to have tough conversations. It means being a great team player. It means being a positive role model for others to aspire to. It means passing knowledge and traditions on. It means stepping up when things need to be done. That’s what Brotherhood is all about and what being a firefighter of the year is about.
This year’s firefighter of the year has thrown himself into the fire service since joining the department.
A few years ago he entered with a crop of new members that has helped rejuvenate the department, bringing youth and vigor to the organization. From the first day, he had enthusiasm for learning and the dedication to miss as few calls as possible. He also has been focused on learning new things by taking just about every state class that has been available related to the fire service.
Every month since joining he has been a top responder and this past year closed the year out responding to an amazing 72% of the department’s calls. He is also willing to take on tasks from snow plowing or work details to there serving our life members at “old timers night”.
He has a legacy in Verdoy, with his father serving this organization with great distinction for many years.
In spite of being in his father’s shadow, he is his own man, doing things his own way.
But there are times that it’s easy to see that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree…
This years Firefighter of the Year is Ryan Leonardo.