Joined by family, friends, local officials and fire department members, each individual took an oath of office to their new respective roles.
Henry Kellogg, Mark Gentile, Mark Joss, Nick Williams, and Sean Baird became the newest fire fighters to join the Fulton Fire Department while Vic Runeare and Ryan Maxam swore into their new positions as Lieutenants.
“As chief I would like to congratulate all of the firefighters who were part of the ceremony on marking an important moment in their lives. The five newest members of the fire department who just completed a grueling twelve week training program at the State Fire Academy and our two newest Lieutenants who have been promoted as a result of their hard work and commitment to our department and the community that it serves,” said Chief David Eiffe.
Eiffe swore into his position as Fire Chief in July of this year.
“I am proud to lead such a fine organization of able bodied, well trained professionals and look forward to the department’s continued progress in the future. I spoke to the families and thanked them for the sacrifices they have made for each of these individuals and thanked them in advance for the sacrifices that are forthcoming. There are surely many more holidays, birthdays and anniversaries that will be missed because duty called,” he said.
The following day, Chief Eiffe and Assistant Chief Shane Laws met with NYS Senator Patty Ritchie to unveil the new ladder truck that was purchased through funds Senator Ritchie made available for the department.
Two years ago, Eiffe attended a roundtable meeting with Senator Ritchie. In his role at the time as Assistant Chief, he simply wanted to bring attention to the department’s troublesome times in which only one running fire engine was available to the department.
Down to one working fire engine, the FFD has resorted to borrowing apparatus from neighboring departments, Volney and Granby.
“We had a grant written and submitted through FEMA. I just went to Senator Ritchie’s meeting to see if she would support the grant, write a letter or make a phone call on our behalf. She asked me to stay after the meeting when she told me she may be able to help through DASNY funding,” Chief Eiffe explained.
Shortly after, the department was approved for both the FEMA grant and the DASNY grant, and in the meantime, city officials made an emergency fire engine purchase to ensure the department had proper equipment to serve the city, not knowing whether the grants would be successful.
With the $200,000 grant secured by Ritchie, FFD chief and assistant chief searched the country for an affordable truck in good condition. The engine they chose came from Ohio, after traveling to see it with a local consultant, the department chose to pursue the purchase.
The nature of the funding requires city officials to put up the money and then be reimbursed. With cooperation from Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr. and the Fulton Common Council, the purchase was made and Eiffe expects the final stages of reimbursement to be complete within the next month.
Now with three new fire engines, the department has a complete fleet that Eiffe referred to as “the nicest in department history.”
With the grant funding through Senator Ritchie, the department ensured they can provide full service to the city with the use of tower ladders, a service that before would require mutual aid.
“When Chief Eiffe explained the dire circumstances surrounding the department and their need for trucks, it seemed so important at the time to see if I could help secure funding. Firefighters are so important to the community, they put their life on the line each and every day. Any way I could help make it safer and easier for them to do their job, I was glad to do it. I’m honored to be a part of this project,” Senator Ritchie said.
This grant builds upon Senator Ritchie’s efforts to support emergency responders across the region. In July, she announced $75,000 in special funding that will help local law enforcement agencies and fire departments improve public safety in communities across Oswego County.
In addition, she also cosponsored legislation (S.1411-A) that provides volunteer firefighters battling certain types of cancer with enhanced disability benefits. The bill cleared both the Senate and Assembly and now awaits action by the Governor.
“This city is grateful for Senator Ritchie. If we didn’t have this, it would have hindered us tremendously. She listened to us, cared, and acted. It’s not always typical of elected officials to come through like she has. I will speak for all city residents when I say, thank you,” Chief Eiffe said.