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Town’s Bravest Honored at Annual Firematic Award Ceremony

Twenty-four local fire members honored for their service

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray and the Hempstead board recently honored Ex-Captain Chris Tuohy and Fire Medic Lionel Roseval of the Levittown Fire Department, and Ex-Chief Dominick Santoro of the East Meadow, who were among the 24 volunteer firefighters from surrounding departments at a ceremony, on Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Nathan L.H. Bennett Pavilion at the Town Hall in Hempstead.

Father Daniel O’Brien, S.J. who serves Oceanside’s St. Anthony’s R.C. Church and the Valley Stream Fire Department, provided a brief invocation, and Fred McFarland of the Levittown Fire Department, performed the National Anthem. The Levittown Fire Department Guard Unit retired the colors before each of the 24 fire members were honored with medals and certificates.

“We are proud to honor this group of firefighters and emergency medical technicians for outstanding service to their departments and to the communities they serve,” Murray said. “These first responders make significant sacrifices, and volunteer their personal time to protect the safety of their neighbors.”

Some of this year’s recipients were honored for heroic rescues and courageous deeds performed during the normal course of their day. Others were saluted for decades of service and the continued dedication to their departments and their communities.

“Day and night, firefighters and EMTs are ready and willing to answer the call,” Murray said. “Their bravery and volunteerism help make our communities safe and pleasant places to call home.”

The nomination from the Levittown Fire Department was read, “As Ex-Captain Chris Tuohy and Fire Medic Lionel Roseval of the Levittown Fire Department proved recently, heroes live among us, some in our very own neighborhoods. When a beautiful Columbus Day afternoon quickly took a turn for the worse for their neighbor, Chris and Lionel immediately stepped up to make a daring rescue.

“Upon hearing the report of a trapped victim inside a burning home, Chris and Lionel responded to the scene. Chris and Michael Senay, a brave civilian and next-door neighbor, made their way to the distressed victim in an upstairs bedroom. Despite being met with heavy heat and smoke, they removed the severely burned victim from the bed.

“When Lionel arrived on the scene, he immediately joined them in transporting the victim to a safe area on the first floor of the home. Lionel administered first aid to the victim until the ambulance arrived and transported her to the hospital.

“Unfortunately, the victim succumbed to her injuries the following day. However, if it were not for the courageous actions of these brave men, the victim would not have had any chance at survival.”

From the East Meadow Department it was said, “The remarkable honoree standing before us is a 70-year veteran of the East Meadow Fire Department. According to comrades and admirers alike, Dominick Santoro is the most respected member of the department and a role model for his fellow firefighters.

“This is a man of impressive performance and impeccable character. He has served in positions of lieutenant, and captain, and was both a two-term chief and two-term fire commissioner.

“Ex-Chief Santoro authored the department’s standard operating procedures that have stood the test of time and become a foundational component of daily firematic service.

“Today, Dominick remains an active and admired member of the East Meadow Fire Department. Part of a true firematic family, Dominick’s lovely wife of 64 years, Fran Santoro, has been an invaluable member of the Fire Department’s Ladies Auxiliary.

“If ever one firefighter stood for all that is good, noble and heroic about his hometown fire department, that firefighter would be Dominick Santoro and tonight the Town of Hempstead proudly salutes this one-of-a-kind hero with the 2011 Firematic Award.”

Murray said, “While residents shoveled out from the snow during the winter or pumped out flood water from their homes after the summer storms, emergency responders like the volunteers whom we salute today making rescues and assisting residents.

“In addition to the familiar firefighting and rescue efforts affected by the fire departments across our town, it is important to recognize members of the firefighting fraternity for their initiative to educate the public on life-saving safety tips and lessons. This month, and every October, is fire prevention month.”

The fire members were honored for their acts of heroism, selfless courage and dedication. To conclude the annual Town of Hempstead Firematic Awards ceremonies, Father Daniel O’Brien, S.J. gave the benediction.

“Volunteer firefighters are indeed heroes in our communities and the Town of Hempstead is extremely grateful to each and every member of the local fire departments,” said Murray. “It’s a pleasure to have this opportunity to recognize Hempstead Town’s bravest.”