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Annual Award Recipients Announced

NYSAFC's 2022 award recipients were recognized during the General Session of the 116th Annual Conference & FIRE 2022 Expo on June 16 in Syracuse, NY.

The New York State Association of Fire Chiefs 2022 award recipients were recognized during the General Session of the 116th Annual Conference & FIRE 2022 Expo on June 16 in Syracuse, NY.

The New York State Fire Chief of the Year Awards were presented to Chief Howard Reiss of the Fairview Fire District (Career Fire Chief of the Year) and Past Chief Daniel Crossway of the Maynard Fire Department (Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year). Honorees are association members who have been selected for demonstration of exemplary leadership, innovation, professional development, integrity, service to the public, and contributions to the fire service, as well as outstanding support in meeting the objectives of NYSAFC. Reiss has served as chief of the Fairview Fire District in Westchester County since 2014. He is a 25-year veteran of the fire service. Crossway has more than 40 years of service with the  Maynard Fire Department in Oneida County and led the agency as chief from 1997-2004.

The Presidential Achievement Award is presented on the recommendation of the NYSAFC president. It recognizes special achievement that benefits the fire service or demonstrates outstanding effort by a first responder that goes above and beyond the normal course of duty. This year, NYSAFC recognized Ex-Chief Thomas McGregor and Chief (Retired) Thomas Richardson. McGregor has served with the Selden Fire Department in Suffolk County since 1981 and led the agency as chief from 1988-1996. Richardson retired as chief of department of the Fire Department City of New York (FDNY) in January 2022 after 41 years of service. He is also a 42-year member and ex-chief (1999-2000 and 2009-2011) of the Deer Park Volunteer Fire Department in Suffolk County.

Deputy Chief Samuel Usborne of the Cazenovia Fire Department was honored with the Chief Fred W. Singer Fire Educator of the Year Award, which recognizes an association member for outstanding effort in fire service training and education. Usborne, a 44-year fire service veteran, is a New York state fire instructor for the Office of Fire Prevention & Control, as well as a longtime NYSAFC Hands-On Training instructor. He has been a fire service instructor since 1999.

The James W. Wright Public Education Award was presented to Francis Stepien of the Onondaga County Fire Prevention Education Center. This award recognizes innovation and exceptional effort in fire/injury prevention and fire/life safety public education. The award was presented during this year's Fire & Life Safety Educators' Conference at the New York State Academy of Fire Science. Stepien served with the Syracuse Fire Department for 37 years, including with the department's fire prevention bureau, and has educated thousands of New Yorkers throughout his decades of service at the Fire Prevention Education Center during the New York State Fair.

Three scholarships were awarded this year through the association's Scholarship Program, which supports NYSAFC Individual Members or the spouses and children of these members who are pursuing academic advancement at the college level. The Anthony Messina Scholarship is awarded to students pursuing an emergency services degree and the Ward & Janice Bohner Scholarship is awarded to those pursuing a general course of study. Congratulations to Madison Deyneka (Auburn City Fire Department), EMT Sarah Kaplan (Melville Fire Department), and Firefighter/EMT Abigail Weizenecker (Lake Carmel Fire Department), recipients of Bohner Scholarship awards. Special thanks to the Fire Chiefs Council of Nassau County and Fire Chiefs' Council of Suffolk County for their contributions to the NYSAFC scholarship fund.

Learn more about the NYSAFC scholarship and awards here. 2023 nomination forms and applications will be available in the fall.

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