NORTH SALEM, N.Y. — More than 100 Croton Falls Fire Department volunteers were officially honored earlier this month at the annual Inspection Dinner/Dance at Salem Golf Club. The firefighters celebrated in full dress uniform, their families and guests in semi-formal attire.
Among those receiving awards was North Salem's Dave Sweeney, Sr., who has served with the department for 55 years. Sweeney recalled the old days, when firetrucks had to stop on Hardscrabble Road because cows were grazing along the verges.
His most haunting experience, he said, was the 1965 midair collision between a TWA and Eastern Airlines airplane. Although the TWA flight managed to reach its destination at JFK International, the Eastern plane was so badly damaged the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing - on an open field in North Salem.
On another note, Fire Chief Jason Blauvelt received an award for having responded to the highest number of calls (485). And the CFFD's Engine 149 won an award from the panel of judges annually invited to inspect the condition of the department's apparatus. The judges make their assessment based on overall condition, cleanliness, upkeep and general appearance of the exterior and the interior.
A special guest at this year's gala was North Salem's soon-to-retire Building Inspector, Bruce Thompson. Accepting an honorary plaque, Thompson said, "Many people don't realize that our fire department takes such care in making a response. They take time to be with the owners and help them through the mishap. This fire department really respects the property. They do as little damage as possible while they're performing their jobs. It's a unique group."
Ted Daros, the CFFD's new president talked about his goal to increase membership and encourage even more community involvement. "You can buy all kinds of trucks," he said, "but you can't put a price on membership."
For further information about volunteering, go to www.crotonfallsfire.com .