Santosus was among the 33 honorees represented 15 fire departments across the Town of Hempstead who were honored for various deeds, including life-saving rescues and acts of valor within the communities they serve.
As a seven-year-old, Santosus watched with amazement as his heroes in the Mineola Fire Department drove out of the local firehouse in their engine and ladder trucks.
Now 68, the sight still inspires Lou, reflecting the fiery passion he has after 50 years of serving in the Mineola Fire Department. After all these years, he rarely misses a call, maintaining the highest response percentage of all the active volunteers in the Mineola Fire Department.
Santosus has served as president and line officer of his engine company and worked his way up the ranks to chief of the department and has also served more than two decades as a village trustee and a term as deputy mayor.
he no longer enters the scene of active fires, Lou is still a vital part of the
response team and he still drives those same trucks that fascinated him more
than six decades ago.
Eighteen Island Park firefighters who fought through several feet of floodwaters and high winds to rescue neighbors from a fast-moving fire that broke out during Superstorm Sandy nearly one year ago were also recognized, as were firefighters from East Rockaway, Floral Park, Franklin Square, Freeport, Lakeview, Levittown, Lynbrook, Mineola, Point Lookout/Lido, Rockville Centre, Seaford, Westbury and Woodmere.
"The work schedule for these volunteers is difficult for those of us outside fire service to comprehend: it's 24-7. Whether it's three o'clock in the morning, these volunteers are at the ready to serve," Murray said. "These men and women are ready whether it is an unexpected ring of the doorbell on an ordinary autumn evening or fighting through rising flood waters and 80-mile-per-hour winds during a storm of epic proportions."