Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray recently honored local volunteer firefighters, including Stewart Manor Fire Department Assistant Chief Daniel O'Keefe and Floral Park Fire Department Chief Joseph O'Grady, at a special ceremony Oct. 18. A total of 20 individuals were honored for their courage and dedication to protecting local communities.
"Firefighters make significant sacrifices and put their lives on the line every day to protect people and their property," Supervisor Murray said. "What makes the activities of our talented honorees so compelling is the fact that they volunteer, giving of their personal time, to ensure that our residents are safe."
Many of this year's recipients were honored for heroic deeds performed during the normal course of their day. "This only highlights the humanity and public-spiritedness these special individuals embrace," the supervisor added.
Assistant Chief O'Keefe has been a member of the Stewart Manor Fire Department for 12 years and has held every office in the department, including that of chief.
In addition to his firematic duties, Assistant Chief O'Keefe has obtained his certification as a New York State paramedic and is an active member of the department's EMS squad. He was directly involved in two recent EMS calls where his actions helped save the lives of persons in crisis.
In one instance his intervention in a cardiac arrest situation resulted in the successful resuscitation of the patient. In the other incident his quick actions stabilized a critically injured trauma victim. In these instances and so many others, Assistant Chief O'Keefe's tireless efforts have helped to save lives and enhance the effectiveness of his fire department.
As an active firefighter for two decades and as department chief for five years, Chief Joseph O'Grady has given selflessly to the Floral Park Fire Department. At the helm of the department, Chief O'Grady has been an effective recruiter and educator in the field of fire safety and an effective advocate for departmental funding for educational programs.
He has headed up the department's new members campaign, which has been a great success. Under Chief O'Grady's leadership the department has recruited 17 new members; 10 of those 17 new members joined Rescue Company and have completed their Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training.
Chief O'Grady is very active in the department's fire prevention training program, which is presented at Floral Park's high school and elementary schools.
Success as an educator, recruiter and leader for the Floral Park Fire Department has garnered him the friendship and appreciation of an entire community.
For their outstanding service to both the Stewart Manor Fire Department and Floral Park Fire Department, respectively, and to both communities, Assistant Chief O'Keefe and Chief O'Grady recently received the 2006 Town of Hempstead Firematic Award.
"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," Supervisor Murray concluded. "It's a pleasure to have this opportunity to recognize Hempstead Town's bravest."