The Amagansett Fire Department honored some of its most dedicated volunteers during its annual Inspection Dinner for 2012 at the Devon Yacht Club on Friday.
Among those honored for their years of service within the fire department was former chief Joseph LaCarrubba, the longest-serving member ever in the history of the department with 60 years, according to Chief PJ Cantwell.
The Firefighter of the Year award was given to Wayne Gauger, a five-year member, who at 24, is one of the youngest in the fire department.
"Getting Firefighter of the Year means al lot to me. It's a really good feeling when you're recognized on that level," he said. "I really enjoy what I do."
Gauger was elected captain of Engine Company 3 in April, after serving as assistant captain for two years. He serves on the Rapid Intervention Team and the Heavy Rescue squad. He also an active emergency medical technician, who was also recognized Friday evening for responding to 250 calls in his career.
Cantwell said its hard to recognize all Gauger does within the department. In addition to his firefighting duties, he was head of the recreation room committee for several years, served on the last by-laws committee, helped with the 100th anniversary committee, and was co-chair of the annual Chicken BBQ. "He is a truly dedicated firefighter," the chief said.
A few new awards were also given out this year, Cantwell said. Along with the traditional Firefighter of the Year award, the Emergency Medical Service's Person of the Year was added. Joe Karpinski, an EMT and ambulance company captain, is its first recipient.
"This year he has taken the squad and really done a great job in rallying the troops and keeping the ambulances running," Cantwell said. "Whenever I have given him a task he always replies , 'Yes, Chief, I'll take care of it.' And he has. He has tried very hard to cover as many calls as we can and to keep the morale up. He is a class act all the way."
The chiefs also named Fire Police, which is Company 4, with the new Company of the Year award.
Others honored for their years of service were:
- 30 years: Marty Mahar, Allen Bennett Sr.
- 25 years: John Fallon, Mike Cinque, Scotty Bennett, Tom Field
- 20 years: Kent Howie, Mary Eames, Neal Martin, PJ Cantwell
- 15 years: Todd Fagerland, Richard Webb
- 10 years: Debbie DiSunno, Christina Bennett
- 5 years: Steven Bennett, Wayne Gauger, Joe Karpinski, Sam Lester III, Randy Hoffman
The department also honored EMS volunteers based on the total number of calls during their careers. Tom Field, an advanced emergency medical technician, has responded to the most calls in the history of the department — 4,000. He is also a well-known instructor on the South Fork, having taught other EMS personnel for 25 years. He has been a member of the Amagansett Fire Department since the early 1980s.
Milford Crandall has answered 1,750 calls, Carl Hamilton and Judy Bennett were recognized for the 1,500 calls they have each answered, Randy Hoffman and Mary Eames have responded to 1,000 calls each, Bob Jensen has answered 750, John Glennon has responded to 500, and Wayne Gauger and Jeff Smith have answered 250 calls each.
Britton Bistrian received the Chiefs Award for outstanding service assisting the chiefs.
"Britton was chosen for taking on the role of Department Corresponding secretary when our last one took his exemption papers after 25 years of service," Cantwell said. "She had no idea how much work it would be but has done an incredible job. She has helped organize the department records, has helped me with her knowledge of site plans, and has done everything asked of her swiftly, accurately and without a single complaint. I could not have done everything I do as Chief without her."
Mark Bennett, who stepped down in early 2012 as chief after three years in the lead position, was given a plaque, as well, on Friday night.