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Mineola Junior Firefighters Hold Officer Installation Dinner

Patrick Lynch named junior firefighter of the year.

The Mineola Junior Fire Department held their annual officer installation dinner this past Saturday night at the firehouse on Washington Avenue.

Coming back from a recent call on Maple Place, a large contingent of the fire company was present, including juniors from Mineola as well as junior companies from Franklin Square, East Rockaway, East Norwich, Garden City Park, Syosset and Glen Cove.

“This is a great bunch of junior firefighters we have this year and I think that they’ve got a future in the ,” said Bill Gresalfi, who was also the recipient of a video tribute which was played during the buffet dinner.

Five members of the junior fire department will be joining the main company this year. There are currently 21 members in the junior fire department. Of the current members of the  Mineola Fire Department, 51 of them have started in the junior fire department and four former members have become chiefs: Scott Strauss, Scott Holiday, Rob Connelly and Joe Pratt.

“I want to say thank you to all the parents for supporting the kids over the year and I look forward to another exciting year this year,” ex-Chief Gary Mazur said.

As part of the department’s 35th anniversary year, the juniors are set to travel to Hamburg, Germany for 10 days this summer as part of a . Last year German junior firefighters .

The ceremony also paid tribute to , a 25 year member of the department  who passed away at the end of January.

“It was a huge loss to the department and especially the juniors,” Fernandes said. “We were family to him.”

Mineola had the unique honor of not only swearing in Michael Fernandes as the new captain but Justin Sandler and his own son Christopher to their new roles as lieutenants.

“I can’t tell you how odd this feels,” the Mayor said, “but it certainly is a great honor to be standing here as Mayor of Mineola and helping the junior fire department on a great path. Michael’s a great kid as are the two lieutenants as well as the entire junior fire department of Mineola.”

Several awards were given out to the juniors including the 100 point awards, based on number of calls which the juniors attended. The list included Fernandes, Patrick Lynch, Michael McCabe, Dylan Murphy, Justin Sandler and Christopher Strauss

“The junior fire department is a great organization and here in Mineola we all share laughs and play jokes on each other but all in all we like to have fun here,” Fernandes said, thanking all the juniors who supported him. “When we first joined none of this was natural to us. We gained a lot of knowledge from learning and listening to the members while we trained and even listening to each other when we knew things that others didn’t.”

The night’s biggest award – firefighter of the year – went to Lynch, currently a sophomore at who joined the department in the summer of 2009.

“Us advisors noticed how willing he was to learn and participate in the vigorous training that junior firefighters go through in Mineola,” Gresalfi said.

“When he’s down here he’s dedicated,” Strauss said of Lynch. “He’s a great kid, he’s a great role model for the others.”

For the next 10 minutes, Lynch received awards, certificates and proclamations from the village board, and local politicians including , , Gov. Cuomo, Nassau County  , among others.

“Thanks guys for all the awards,” Lynch said in response. 

“That’s it?” a voice from the back was heard.

“I’d like to thank the academy...” came Lynch’s reply, presumably meaning the fire academy, and eliciting a round of laughter from the crowd.

DanTe June 03, 2011 at 03:17 AM
So why are taxpayers paying for trips to Germany for so called firefighters??? If you shout German at a fire, it'll go out faster? And before you come back with a lie about it's all donations. I'll remind you that the "donations" are mandatory. The Mineola Fire Department keeps a list of all donators and their addresses.
SLJ June 03, 2011 at 01:33 PM
"So called firefighters"? --Evidently you know very little about the program, and being a volunteer in general.
Artie Barnett June 03, 2011 at 11:10 PM
DanTe, what are you talking about? Mandatory donations? Taxpayer dollars? You are so far off on this it's mind boggling.
DanTe June 04, 2011 at 02:22 AM
Why don't you forget the donation because the request got shoved in a pile during vacation for once? They'll come a knocking. Truth will set you free.
Artie Barnett June 04, 2011 at 05:18 PM
That donation does not go to the Jr. FD. Read the below article from the Patch: The Mineola Junior Fire Department held its 15th annual Pasta Dinner/Auction this past Sunday... the junior fire department also sponsored a Chinese auction and a silent auction to raise money for some of their current programs... “The money that we raise through the junior program helps the kids donate to various organizations throughout the community and the state, like the New York State Firemen’s Home, the Wounded Warrior’s program"...All funds raised go to help fund the junior programs throughout the year. One of the more exciting aspects of the program is the exchange program with the Hamburg-Stellingen, German Junior Fire Department, which is now in its sixth year. Read the full article here: http://mineola.patch.com/articles/mineola-junior-fire-department-holds-15th-annual-pasta-dinner
Jeanne Falabella June 09, 2011 at 09:46 PM
I do believe those trips to Germany are funded by fund raising efforts such as the annual Pasta Dinner. That said, if push comes to shove I would rather have my tax dollars used to send these kids to Germany to cross-train than pay to have to clean up graffiti left by some miscreants who would rather put their energies into destroying property than learning how to save lives. Our Junior Firefighters deserve props, not put-downs.
William Gresalfi June 16, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Dan Te get your facts straight. I usually don't respond to respond to someone that hides behind a web name making false statements, but since I am associated with the Mineola Junior Fire Department I have to answer to the ridiculous comments that you have made. The young members of the junior fire department that will be going to Germany have work hard to raise their own money and with todays airfares their parents also made it possible for them to experience a trip that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. I hope you understand now Dan Te , (whatever your name is)the donation that you don't send into the fire department,does not go toward the juniors trip.

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