Two Westfield firefighters will be honored today for rescuing a father and daughter from Lake Erie last summer as a family outing turned tragic when a third relative drowned.
"Firefighter of the Year" awards will be presented to Everett Reardon and Brandon Wright of the Westfield Fire Department during the 103rd annual convention of the Southwestern Association of Volunteer Firemen at the Lake Shore Fire Department.
Awards Committee Chairman Michael Volpe of Busti said a family visiting Edgewater Condominiums at the lake last Aug. 8 included two teens who decided to go swimming in the afternoon, when suddenly the wind picked up and the temperature dropped.
Their father entered the lake trying to rescue both teens and managed to hold onto his 13-year-old daughter. The mother called 911, and firefighters Reardon and Wright rescued the father and girl.
The Chautauqua County Dive Team later recovered the body of the 14-year-old son.
Firefighters from Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Erie counties opened the convention Wednesday, and it continues through Saturday at 3 p.m. with the convention parade along Lake Shore Road. The convention is being hosted by Lake Shore, home department of Association President Michael Gates.
The slate of officers presented Thursday will be voted on this morning. The new president will be Larry Schosek of the Village of Cattaraugus Fire Department.
The vice presidents will be: Allegany County, Dave Thompson of Bolivar; Cattaraugus County, William Pratt of Otto; Chautauqua County, Stephen J. Pacanowski of Westfield; and Erie County, Terrence Cooke of Highland Hose in Derby.
The directors will be: Cattaraugus, Dorothy Button of West Valley; Erie, Phillip Mohn of Marilla; Chautauqua, Marsha Holland of Westfield is being challenged by Thomas Summerville of Mayville in the only contested race on the ballot today. The Allegany seat is vacant and will be filled by appointment of the executive committee.
Secretary James E. Pacanowski of Westfield is up for re-election.
Larry Barter of Fredonia will be sergeant-at-arms, and Fred Gaines of Bolivar will be assistant sergeant-at-arms.
Today's awards recipients will be presented plaques. Those honored for more than 50 years of service will also receive citations from the Firemen's Association of the State of New York and the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control.
Tom Moses of Hamburg Volunteer Fire Department is the Junior Firefighter of the Year.
Other service award winners are: 1-10 years, Steve Wedvik, West Valley Fire Department; 11-20 years, Marsha Cowen, Randolph Fire Company; 21-30 years, William Hamm, Lake Erie Beach Fire Company; 31-40 years, Jeff Holmes, Delevan Fire Company; 41-50 years, Dale Senn, Randolph Fire Company; 50 years, Jerry Parks of South Dayton Fire Department, Donald Weber of Kiantone Fire Department, James Militello of Farnham Fire Department and Robert Thompson of Lake Shore Fire Department; 52 years, Edwin Sanberg and P. Michael Nielsen, both of Kiantone Fire Department; 53 years, Roy Harrington; 56 years, Neil McNeight; and 60 years, George Tadt Jr., all of Barker Hose Company; 61 years, Ray Eckholm, Celeron Hose Company.