“Chief Neil McNeight Hands-On Training Award” Established to Advance Firefighter Training at the NYSAFC Annual Conference
The Chautauqua County & Monroe County Fire Chiefs Hospitality Committee and NYSAFC are pleased to announce this new program that will fund the registration of qualified and deserving students in the NYSAFC Hands-On Training program conducted in conjunction with the association's Annual Conference & FIRE Expo. NYSAFC Individual and Department Members are eligible to apply.
Through the generous support of the Chautauqua County & Monroe County Fire Chiefs Hospitality Committee, a new annual award has been created to fund the registration of qualified and deserving students in the NYSAFC Hands-On Training program conducted in conjunction with the association's Annual Conference & FIRE Expo. The “Chief Neil McNeight Hands-On Training Award” will be presented in memory of NYSAFC Past President Neil McNeight, a 60-year member who led the association as president from 1991-1992.
For the inaugural year, two awards will be presented for participation in training at the 115th Annual Conference & FIRE 2021 Expo, which will be held June 16-19 in Syracuse, NY. The award will cover enrollment in one Hands-On Training program of the recipients' choice (based on availability). Hands-On Training sessions available at FIRE 2021 cover topics such as truck company operations, hoarder fires, fire behavior, interior fire attack, vehicle extrication, and thermal imaging camera operations. This registration also includes a Conference Full Term pass, which allows entry to the exhibits and classroom education programs at FIRE 2021. Each awardee will also receive a small stipend for meals and hotel accommodations for two nights at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown. Award recipients will be responsible for transportation and all travel expenses.
To apply, a firefighter must be a NYSAFC Individual Member or his/her fire department must be a NYSAFC Department Member. Applicants must meet NYSAFC Hands-On Training course prerequisites and PPE requirements, and will be required to provide a chief's authorization letter. Applicants will also be required to submit a brief essay explaining how participation in this training will be of personal benefit and how it will positively impact their fire departments.
Neil McNeight was a 64-year member of the Fredonia Fire Department – D.R. Barker Hose Co. #1 and served as chief of department for two years. A prominent figure in the Chautauqua County fire service, McNeight served as county fire coordinator/emergency manager from 1986-2001 and had previously served as a deputy coordinator of training for 19 years. He joined NYSAFC in 1959, and continued serving the not-for-profit association as a committee member until his passing in 2019.
“For his entire career, Neil McNeight was an advocate for improving and expanding training opportunities for firefighters in New York state,” said NYSAFC Past President Julius Leone, who served with McNeight in the Fredonia Fire Department. “And his enthusiasm for NYSAFC never waned. So, assisting association members in enhancing their knowledge and skills, and supporting the State Chiefs' Hands-On Training program is a fitting way to honor Neil's legacy,” he added.
For more than a decade, the Chautauqua County & Monroe County Fire Chiefs Hospitality Committee has operated a hospitality room throughout the NYSAFC Annual Conference & FIRE Expo, welcoming attendees from across the state to the event. “Our county chiefs partnered to create this place to network, catch up with old friends, and make new connections with firefighters from all over the state. Neil was a great ambassador for NYSAFC, and a welcoming presence at the hospitality room, so the committee is honored to create this fund in his memory,” said NYSAFC Communications Committee member Larry Vaughan of Monroe County.
An award application, full eligibility criteria, course prerequisites, and details on the selection process are available here. The NYSAFC board of directors salutes the members of the hospitality committee for their dedication to the fire service and the association.