By Eden Laikin
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano was joined by Peninsula Kiwanis this week, to honor 7 firefighters; two fire companies and members of the 3rd battalion, for their service to the Five Town Community.
The awards presentation took place during the Hewlett Fire Department’s 40th anniversary celebration, at the Inwood VFW on Wednesday Sept 17.
The Nassau County Police Pipe Band played at the “fireman’s night” event as members of the Inwood, Lawrence-Cedarhurst, Meadowmere Park ,Woodmere, Valley Stream and Elmont Fire Departments gathered.
Also in attendance at Wednesday’s ceremony were Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg; County Legislators Howard Kopel and Denise Ford; Hempstead Town Councilman Tony Santino and Congressional candidate, Bruce Blakeman.
The honorees were Firefighter Anthony Alfano of Inwood; Captain Michael Beilinson of Lawrence-Cedarhurst; Ex-Chief Ethan Lahey and Ex-Captain Kerri Ahern of Hewlett; Firefighters Richard Jankosky, Jr. and Ray Grawin of Woodmere; the Meadowmere Park and Valley Stream Fire Departments; and Lieutenant William Jakubowski of Elmont. William suffered a traumatic brain injury while participating in a firematic drill. Fellow firefighters say his recovery process has been long and difficult for himself and his family.
Mangano thanked all attendees for the hard work and dedication they put in to protect Nassau County’s residents, homes and property.
“We gather tonight to honor our brave firefighters who have gone above and beyond the call of duty and consistently risk their own lives to protect our Nassau County residents,” County Executive Mangano said. “Heroism, valor and sacrifice are just three words to describe their dedication. Each and every day, firefighters wake up and respond to emergencies with a single goal: protecting the public, rarely with concern for their own safety.”
Mangano told those gathered that the training and safety of Nassau’s firefighters and emergency responders were always a top priority for his administration. Despite the severe budget crisis, Mangano said he was able to hold the budget line at the Fire Service Academy, the Fire EMS Academy and with the help of state and federal grants even increased the budget over the previous year.
He was also able to secure funding for several VEEB training initiatives as well as for the purchase of new equipment. Also during Mangano’s tenure, a new state-of-the-art radio communication system was installed; a new Fire Communications facility was constructed; new computer technology and information programs were implemented in the Fire Marshall’s Office; and two Motorola portable radios were given to each fire department for interoperability while one Motorola mobile radio for each fire department ambulance in the county.
Mangano added that he has also been working with the County Fire Marshal to develop a Rehab Unit that will be staffed by the Fire Marshal’s office and be available to all 71 fire departments when needed.
“As you can see, we are working hard to arm our Fire Districts with the tools that they need to keep our residents safe,” Mangano said. “I can think of no more worthy of a cause then to support our firefighters. To all of our honorees, on behalf of the 1.3 million residents of Nassau County I would like to thank you for your service to our community, we will never be able to thank you enough.”