NEWINGTON - Anyone who has yet to recognize local firefightersâ€™ 100 years of volunteer service to the community will soon have an opportunity.
An honorary evening dedicated to the Newington Volunteer Fire Department is free, open to the public and set for Monday, July 31, at Paradise Pizza, 10 East St., New Britain. Hosted by the Newington Kiwanis Club, the program will feature speakers, a short video and slideshow along with a very special presentation.
Club members are shooting for a large crowd.
â€śI hope we can get a good turnout because these guys deserve some attention,â€ť Program Chair Al Cohen said this week.
Newington Fire Chief Chris Schroeder, Assistant Chief Thomas Lapierre, and Deputy Chiefs Jeffrey Trommer, Bob Regina and Victor Depamphilis are all expected to attend. An invitation has also gone out to former chiefs Joseph â€śDukeâ€ť Kalasky and James Trommer. Kalasky retired in 1995 after 45 years of service -- 20 of those as chief, and Trommer served as chief from 1995 to 2005, immediately before Schroeder.
The group will be presenting a brief history of the department since it was founded in 1917.
â€śThe changes over the years are tremendous,â€ť Schroeder said. â€śThe requirements, training, hours, the types of calls we respond toâ€¦ itâ€™s a much bigger commitment for individuals than it was 100 years ago.â€ť
NVFD has become a family organization over the years.
â€śWe have so many second-, third- and even fourth-generation sons and daughters of former members,â€ť Schroeder explained. â€śWhen someone joins, the whole family has to buy into it because itâ€™s a real time commitment.â€ť
He went on to point out that firefighters and their families appreciate when the community recognizes that their volunteer service puts their lives on the line.
â€śIt means a whole lot. The Kiwanis are an all-volunteer civic organization and we look forward to getting together with them.â€ť
Club members plan to present a series of quotations from former firefighters that embody the passion and commitment required of such a high-risk duty.
Former town Councilor Clarke Castelle will compare the cost savings of the townâ€™s volunteer department to paid departments in other area towns.
The town of Southington, for example, budgeted $4 million this past year for its department, which has an all-paid staff. Newington, on the other hand, spent $869,000 on its volunteer operation.
â€śThese ladies and gentleman save the taxpayers of Newington at least $3 million a year,â€ť Castelle pointed out. â€śPeople keep forgetting how important these firefighters are.â€ť
Kiwanis member Tony Simcik will be presenting the contingent an antique fire nozzle thatâ€™s been restored to its original condition.
The program will begin at 7 p.m. Those who would like to purchase dinner are encouraged to arrive at 6 p.m.
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go:
WHAT: The Newington Kiwanis Club presents: NVFDâ€™s 100th anniversary
WHEN: Monday, July 31 at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Paradise Pizza, 10 East St., New Britain
HOW: Free and open to the public