By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted March 5, 2023 at 9:22 pm
Kirk Zinkievich named ‘Firefighter of the Year’
EAST SHELBY – The East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company celebrated the milestone at its annual installation and awards banquet Saturday night.
The event was the fire company’s 70th Platinum Jubilee, founded by 13 charter members in 1953. The last surviving charter member was Laverne “Jiggs” Green, who died last year.
Dave Green, a firefighter for 63 years, is the host. To mark the 70th anniversary, guests received commemorative drinking cups with straws and lids.
The evening began with remarks from fire company president Mike Fuller and women’s organization president Bronwyn Green.
After guest introductions, the firefighters were appointed by Justin Niederhofer, Orleans 1. They were Mike Fuller, president; Joe Newton, vice president; Karen Bracey, secretary; Allen Turner, treasurer; and Norm Behrend, Gordon Reigle and Alan Lonnen, supervisors; and Dave Green, waiter. Line officers are Deb Taylor, chief; Devin Taylor, first assistant chief; Andy Beach, 2nd assistant chief; Dennis MacDonald, 3rd assistant chief; Jeff Taylor, captain; Laura Fields, the fire chief; Sue Behrend and Mike Fulller, EMS officers; and Todd Ralph, safety/training officer.
Auxiliary Officer, appointed by Shelby Town Clerk Darlene Rich is Bronwyn Green, president; Deb Green, vice president; Sawyer Green, secretary; Sharlene Pratt, treasurer; Cassidy Oliver, Shirley Printup and Sue Green, superintendents; and Rosie Allen, pastor.
Mike Fuller presents the President’s Award to Joe Newton. Newton is a longtime dedicated firefighter, having been hospitalized for a year, first in Erie, Pa. and now in Ohio with a rare infection requiring a ventilator and now dialysis. He slowly improved and continued to track the fire company on Facebook.
The Chief’s Award was given by Debbie Taylor to Rusty Hoffmeister, someone she thinks she can always count on. He volunteers whenever a work crew is needed and always sells lots of tickets to fire company events. He answered calls whenever he was available. Not only is he an important asset to the fire company, but also to his community.
“During the blizzard of 2022, he spent hours on little sleep helping a neighboring department clear the highway for emergency calls and personal needs,” Taylor said. “He even helped with one of our calls for elevator assistance with a dementia patient. I give credit where credit is due from this blizzard. I always thought it would be fun to drive a snowplow for once, but after that storm and being in it, curiosity must have killed the cat. I give credit to the people of the city for what they went through, but I can only give this credit to one of them.
Taylor also presented the “Firefighter of the Year Award”, this year selecting someone who has been in the department for many years, and has also served as a tribal chief.
Announcing Kirk Zinkievich as his pick, he said, “He’s a huge asset. He showed up to be contacted when he could and was another big ticket seller. She was always helpful at events and didn’t slow down, even with her medical problems. He has a great personality and is very likeable. The only quality that stood out about him was that he always put others first. You thought he had a big heart, but ever since he was rebuilt/remanufactured, his heart has gotten even bigger as he continues to put his family, friends, and firefighting company before him.
The EMS Award was presented by Mike Fuller to Nick Boyle, a new recruit who took the initiative to complete the required courses to become an EMT.
The highlight of the evening was honoring Mike Fuller’s 50 years of membership in the fire company.
“Doesn’t seem like long,” he said.
He first became interested in the fire company when, at the age of 14, he started working on Zinkievich’s farm. They are dedicated firefighters and whenever there is a call, they drop everything to respond, and Fuller will come along. He couldn’t join then until he was 18 years old.
Fuller’s daughters Amy Fuller and Katie Crooks gave a presentation titled “Through the Years” about life in their home with dedicated firefighters. No matter what they do, if a fire calls, Mike is gone.
Her two daughters are firefighters and EMTs.
“I never pushed them,” he said. “They want to do it.”
Mike has held every line position in the fire department. He served two terms – from 1981 to 1985 and again in 2005, when he served 10 years. He has served as president for five years. He will turn 69 in April and is still an active EMT.
Mike was presented with proclamations from representatives from the Town of Shelby, the Orleans County Legislature, State Senator Rob Ortt, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Congresswoman Claudia Tenney and the New York State Firefighters Association.
Awards from Ladies Auxiliary include award certificates awarded to Rosie Allen, Judy Allen, Lisa Russo, Jessie Green, Sawyer Green and Paige Green. Judy Allen is recognized for her 50 years of membership in the Auxiliary. Jessie Green is a member of 60 years.
President Bronwyn Green gave firefighters a check for $8,000 to help them buy new beepers. Green says Maid is a big supporter of firefighting companies, always participating in whatever function they have.
The final ceremony paid tribute to member Richard Pitcher, who died last August.
The fire company reports the new members are Nick Boyle and Dylan Taylor. Auxiliary also has two new members, Leona Weese and Pat Vadar.
The evening ended with entertainment by magician Pat Holman from Medina.