BY JOHN KRYGER
Five volunteer firefighters were honored Saturday, April 15, at the Rockland County Fire Chief’s Association’s Old-Timers Awards Night and dinner held at Krucker’s Catering and Picnic Grove in Pomona. More than 250 current and former Rockland fire chiefs, along with County Executive Ed Day, gathered to honor their own at the annual event.
The Active Chief’s Award was given token Sohlman, the Chief of the Spring Valley FD in recognition of his active participation in the Fire Chief’s Association and for his outstanding dedication to his community.
The Jerome Trachtenberg Award went to volunteer firefighter Frank Hutton of the Nanuet FD for his outstanding service in recruitment and retention of volunteers countywide for many years. The award is presented to a person who promotes outstanding service to the RCFCA. It is named for the late attorney Jerome Trachtenberg, founder of the county’s Legal Aid Society and dean of Rockland’s legal community. He practiced in the county for almost 60 years.
The Charles “Smoky” Fales Award was presented to George Drescher of the West Nyack Fire Dept. He is a past chief of the West Nyack FD and a current Rockland County Deputy Fire Coordinator who has given continued outstanding and dedicated fire service to Rockland County and his community. Candidates must be senior members who are still active in their department and other firematic associations including committees and community service. The award is named for Charles M. Fales, a former fire chief of the Haverstraw Fire Department, who also served the Stony Point Fire Department. Fales was the county’s first fire coordinator in 1948, and was a volunteer for 67 years.
The William V. Harris Award was given to Dave Schnitzer, a past chief of the Blauvelt FD and the newly-elected Chief’s Association president, in appreciation for his going above and beyond the call of duty for the Rockland County Fire Service. Harris, a 40-year Pearl River FD member and twice its chief, owned W. Harris & Son contracting. He and his company responded with equipment to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the World Trade Center and spent nine months at the site in lower Manhattan. Harris was diagnosed with mercury poisoning and died in September 2008 at the age of 57.
The past presidents award was presented to Robert Murdock, Assistant Chief of the Hillcrest FD, who served the RCFCA from 2015 to 2017, in recognition of his distinguished and outstanding leadership, dedication, and service as president of the Rockland County Fire Chief’s Association. Murdock also received a special “Golden Radio” for his work on the new countywide fire radio protocols.
In addition, the following members received Life Membership awards for 25-years of RCFCA membership: Everette Conklin, Blauvelt FD; Robert Drexler, Haverstraw; Lloyd Hovelmann, Hillcrest; Donald Baggot and Jason Goldsmith, New City; Frank Jewett and Miles Taylor, Nyack; Michael Arone, Jr., Sloatsburg; Clifton Bullock and Robert Daly Jr., Sparkill; George Garrecht, Robert Miller and Raymond Slavin, Tappan; Robert LaGrow and George Zayas Jr., West Haverstraw; Keith Carlyle, Kevin Dierciksen, Michael Ulrich and Peter Winterbourne, West Nyack, Kenneth Joyce, James Moliterno and Chris VanSchaick, South Spring Valley; and Chris Morrison, Thiells FD.