Newington Volunteer Fire Department to be honored July 31

Published on Thursday, 13 July 2017 20:14
Written by Erica Schmitt

Staff Writer

NEWINGTON - Anyone who has yet to recognize local firefighters’ 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.

“I hope we can get a good turnout because these guys deserve some attention,” 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 “Duke” 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.

“The changes over the years are tremendous,” Schroeder said. “The requirements, training, hours, the types of calls we respond to… it’s a much bigger commitment for individuals than it was 100 years ago.”

NVFD has become a family organization over the years.

“We have so many second-, third- and even fourth-generation sons and daughters of former members,” Schroeder explained. “When someone joins, the whole family has to buy into it because it’s a real time commitment.”

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.

“It means a whole lot. The Kiwanis are an all-volunteer civic organization and we look forward to getting together with them.”

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 town’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.

“These ladies and gentleman save the taxpayers of Newington at least $3 million a year,” Castelle pointed out. “People keep forgetting how important these firefighters are.”

Kiwanis member Tony Simcik will be presenting the contingent an antique fire nozzle that’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

If you go:

WHAT: The Newington Kiwanis Club presents: NVFD’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

Posted in New Britain Herald, General News, New Britain, Newington on Thursday, 13 July 2017 20:14. Updated: Thursday, 13 July 2017 20:16.