New York State
Association of Fire Chiefs

Providing Service to Those Who Serve


NYSAFC Award Recipients Announced

NYSAFC's 2023 award recipients were recognized during the General Session of the 117th Annual Conference & FIRE 2023 Expo on June 15 in Syracuse, NY.

The New York State Association of Fire Chiefs 2023 award recipients were recognized during the General Session of the 117th Annual Conference & FIRE 2023 Expo on June 15, 2023, in Syracuse, NY.
The New York State Fire Chief of the Year Awards were presented to Chief Michael J. Monds of the Syracuse Fire Department (Career Fire Chief of the Year) and Chief William R. Fries Sr. of the Hammondsport 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. Monds is a 23-year veteran of the Syracuse Fire Department (Onondaga County). He has led the department since January 2018. Fries has been a member of the Hammondsport Fire Department (Steuben County) since 1979. He was elected chief in 1986. Learn more about our 2023 Chief of the Year award recipients and their accomplishments here.
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 2nd Assistant Chief Christopher Ciaccio of the Commack Fire Department (Suffolk County). Ciaccio has been a member of the department since 2008. He was honored for life-saving effort in the rescue of two elderly victims who were trapped in their burning East Northport, NY home on April 22, 2022. New York State Assemblyman Joe DeStefano also presented a proclamation to Ciaccio in recognition of his bravery.
Commissioner Greg Timmons of the Peru Fire Department (Clinton County) 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. Timmons is a 50-year veteran of the fire service, past chief of the Peru Fire Department, and a Clinton County deputy fire coordinator. He has served as a New York state fire instructor for 30 years, educating students in Clinton County and the North Country region. Learn more about Greg Timmons here.
The James W. Wright Public Education Award was presented to Lieutenant Nicholas Persons of Niskayuna Fire District No. 1 (Schenectady County). 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 on May 6. Persons was assigned to manage the department's public safety education program in 2015. Since that time, through his initiative, the program has been enhanced and expanded, most notably as the department found new methods to deliver its fire prevention messages during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lieutenant Adam Ahrens of the Fredonia Fire Department (Chautauqua County) received this year's Chief Neil McNeight Hands-On Training Award. Established by the Chautauqua County & Monroe County Fire Chiefs Hospitality Committee, this award is intended to advance firefighter training by funding the registration of qualified and deserving students in the NYSAFC Hands-On Training program at the Annual Conference & FIRE Expo. The recipient receives training, Full Term registration for the conference, as well as hotel accommodations and a meal stipend.
Two 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 Firefighter Bailey Vooris of the Best-Luther Fire Department (Rensselaer County) and Firefighter Noah Hirschhorn of the Briarcliff Manor Fire Department (Westchester County), recipients of Messina 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. 2024 nomination forms and applications will be available in the fall.