Minutes of 6/22/17: EG Fire Dept.’s community role

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
June 22, 2017

Members Attending (9; no quorum): Debbie Rodriguez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Charlie Foote, Julius Frankel, Dick Drumm, Ray Hannan.

Guests (2): Jeff Tooker, Assistant Chief, East Greenbush Fire Department; Susan Kraycher Sullivan County Rotarian.

PROGRAM: East Greenbush Fire Dept.’s Community Role

Screen shot 2017-06-23 at 12.18.56 PM
Speaker Jeff Tooker

Jeff Tooker, an assistant chief of the East Greenbush Fire Department, visited to talk about the company’s overall role in the community. Jeff, who also is a social studies teacher at Columbia High School, said the company was formed on January 7, 1916, and has been an all-volunteer organization for its entire 101 years. He showed photos of the department’s early history, including parades.

The EGFD currently has more than 80 active members, 60 with gear, and operates out of three separate stations.

Jeff explained the department’s Mission Statement — a commitment to the community — and its Best Operating Practices. Firefighters are alerted in three ways: via one-way radio pagers, by siren, and by cellphones. It has one chief and three assistant chiefs. Members respond either to a chief’s car or to a firehouse to get their equipment. They also operate a small bus for some emergencies.

Training, which lasts for 140 hours, includes many classes — EVOC, AVET, firefighter survival, fire police, and apparatus operator among others. Rensselaer County pays for instructors and the state for some other expenses. Drill is every Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The department responds to as many as 350 calls a year — vehicle fires, hazardous materials, car accident (25% of all calls), brushfires, especially in the spring, natural gas leaks, EMS assist, storm damage and community assistance. He also had shots of other types of calls they have responded to such as Hurricane Sandy on Long Island, and the ice storm in Quebec.

Jeff also spoke about the fire district and its governance. Its annual budget of  $450,000 covers only part of the costs, so fundraisers include pizza night, fish fry night, pancake breakfasts, and a golf outing. The company also has an annual fund drive, public education efforts, and a scholarship program. The company has won parade awards for formations and honor guard.


GREETING –– President Debbie Rodriguez rang the opening bell for the last time and welcomed visitors and members.

MEMBERSHIP — Melissa Bill has transitioned from individual membership to lead person for the new Key Bank NA Corporation group membership.

Screen shot 2017-06-23 at 12.52.11 PMMEETING SCHEDULE — This was our last dinner meeting of the Rotary Year at Quigley’s. Next Thursday, June 29, will be the annual Presidential Changeover Dinner, scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Browns’ residence in Castleton. Debbie will pass the gavel to President-elect Roberto Martinez. … We will not meet during the July 4 week. But, on Thursday, July 13, we will begin our “Summer Casual” schedule of cookouts, ballgames, summer theater, pool parties, etc., when Dick and Mary Drumm host “A Picnic In the Country” at their home in Valatie. Stay alert for a signup sheet for that event.

FOOD TRUCK EVENT — Charlie Foote told us the Kinderhook Tri-Village Rotary Cub held its first Food Truck Night. He said it appeared to be well attended, and suggested we consider holding a similar event as a fundraiser.

POLICE AID — Jim Leyhane said Andy Leyhane had informed him a neighbor, an officer in the Colonie Police Department, had inquired about Rotary support to cover a financial shortfall for a police-community outreach effort on an immediate-need basis. Jim provided a $500 check, but suggested the police contact the Colonie-Guilderland Rotary Club for further assistance.

Screen shot 2017-06-23 at 12.57.02 PMAPPRECIATION — We received a thank-you note from Bill Dowd for the food basket sent to him during his post-surgery recuperation. … We received a thank-you note from club member Burke Adams for our annual financial gift to the Miracle League. … Becky Raymond reported that the Freedom From Fistula Foundation posted a thank-you note on its website in appreciation of our $1,800 grant.


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