Written by Marilou Giammona, email@example.com Wednesday, 22 May 2013 00:00
Stewart Manor Fire Department (SMFD) Captain George Somerset is the recent recipient of Nassau County’s Firematic Award. Citing his “extraordinary leadership skills,” Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano honored Somerset at a ceremony, which included Nassau County Chief Fire Marshal Scott D. Tusa, Fire Commissioner Rick Gardner, Comptroller George Maragos and members of the SMFD. JetBlue Vice President Richard Smyth was also on hand and awarded Somerset with one of 50 roundtrip airline tickets he doled out to thank first responders for their dedicated service following Hurricane Sandy.
“I can always count on him to be there,” said SMFD Chief Thomas Skinner, who nominated Somerset for the award. “Serving as lieutenant and captain, George has been a dedicated firefighter and training officer since he joined the department.”
Somerset joined the SMFD in the summer of 1999 and has since served as an officer under the past four chiefs of the department. He served as a lieutenant for five years and is currently in his third year as captain. What inspired Somerset to join nearly 14 years ago? “A group of friends from the neighborhood had joined in the spring of ’99, so I decided to see what it was all about. After hanging around the firehouse and meeting everybody, I signed up.”
Somerset hit the ground running from day one. He credits all of the former chiefs and officers under whom he served as he was coming up. “I learned from all of them and tried to take something from each of them,” he said.
Somerset continues to embrace his volunteerism and urges future and new members “to learn as much as they can by taking classes that are offered as well as through the training that we offer.” He also encourages others to learn from the chiefs, officers and senior members, as he did, “and to put in everything that you can.”
While helping people and giving back to his community is paramount among his reasons for being a volunteer firefighter, Somerset also cherishes “being a member of such a great group of people that is really like a second family.”
Despite receiving such a prestigious award, Somerset remains humble. “I was very surprised. It was a big honor for my chief to put me in for such an award like this.” And while he has a roundtrip JetBlue ticket waiting in the wings, it’s business as usual for now. Asked if he’s planned a well-deserved vacation yet, he replied, “I really haven’t had a chance to think it through.”