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The 19th Pride in Port Committee has selected the Port Washington Fire Department and the Knights of Columbus as this year's grand marshals of the Pride in Port Parade. Both of these venerated Port organizations are celebrating their centennials this year, which makes their selection all that more special. Be sure to come to the parade, which steps off on Main St. at noon on Saturday Oct. 6, and join in the other activities planned for this special community event.

Following are brief histories of both the fire department and the Knights of Columbus.

To understand the present Port Washington Fire Department, it is necessary to examine the original three companies that would be unified in 1907 and the Fire Medic Company formalized in 1979 to form the department we know today. The three original fire companies in Port Washington, Atlantic Hook & Ladder, Protection Engine and Flower Hill Hose were organized years before the Port Washington Fire Department was formed. The three companies operated independently of a central command until 1907 when the they consolidated to form the Port Washington Fire Department. The names of the original companies have been retained and serve to identify the units in the department.

One of the earlier attempts to facilitate cooperation among the newly-formed fire services was the appointment of the chief to command the two existing fire services at fire scenes. In 1894, Protection and Atlantic agreed to appoint a Protection member, Eugene E. Carpenter, as chief for the purpose of commanding both companies at fire scenes. As a result, Carpenter is regarded as the first fire chief of the Port Washington community.

The history of the century-old Port Washington Fire Department has been marked with a consistent, gradual and evolving growth in the varied disciplines of firefighting. The department's evolution never stalled but evolved and adapted to the latest techniques in firefighting and fire prevention.

The decades of the 1970s and 1980s brought about advances in technology and increased government regulations. The fire service became more aware of hazardous materials and personal safety. Federal and state regulations required improved equipment, more accountability at emergency incidents, increased training and better physical fitness of firefighters. These substantial changes occurred in a relatively short period of time.

Along with the increased regulations came more record keeping, reporting and a public demanding more fiscal accountability as well. This burden severely stressed both the administrative and line officers, all of whom had to devote as much time to paperwork as they did to firefighting. In the 1990s, the department altered its structure to include an administrative board of directors and a paid office manager. This was soon followed by the hiring of several personnel to handle the varied maintenance tasks that were previously performed by the volunteer members. This allowed the firefighters to devote their volunteer hours to training, fighting fires and responding to EMS incidents.

The department bears little resemblance to the department and companies of the early years. One common ingredient, however, that has been consistent throughout the past century is the high quality and caliber of the personnel of the department. Many men and women have made substantial efforts to bring the department to what it is today. While it is often the sight of the fire engine and the roar of the sirens that hold our attention, we cannot and should not underestimate the caliber of the men and women who voluntarily serve and provide the backbone that makes the department work.

The Port Washington chapter of the Knights of Columbus Council #1227 will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary at a special celebration and testimonial in honor of Past Grand Knight Michael Chester and Virginia Caramanica, past president of the Columbiettes, the Knight's women's auxiliary, which is celebrating its 40th year.

This gala event will be held at Leonard's of Great Neck on Friday, Sept. 28.

The history of the Knights of Columbus Council #1227 began on May 25, 1907 when it was founded, just three years after the founding of St. Peter's Church. The first meetings were held at Victoria Hall, on the site of the old Plaza Building (currently Starbucks Coffee House).

In February 1923, the council purchased land at Franklin Ave. and Haven Ave., currently the site of the Elks Hall, and the first council chambers was erected.

In 1929, the year of the stock market crash, the knights were forced to sell the building to help with operating expenses.

Since WWII, their membership has had a healthy growth. In 1957, they purchased a house on the corner of Fifth St. and Plandome Rd. Soon afterward, as a result of a successful fund-raising effort, they floated a bond and erected the main building.

However, funds became tight again and they were forced to sell their "home."

In March 1967, the Columbiettes, the ladies auxiliary was established. The impetus for the creation of this council came from then Grand Knight Carl Salerno. The auxiliary President Brigette Raimo began immediately to fulfill the chapter's mandate-to support the Knights of Columbus in all their spiritual, fraternal, civic and charitable endeavors.

In November 1996, they are grateful to have been able to purchase a new building at 149 Manorhaven Blvd. They hoped to eventually do some major renovations and once again be a strong and viable asset to the community.

The Knights take pride in their past and their intestinal fortitude to continue to thrive as carriers of a great tradition. One motto of theirs is "without charity, we cannot have unity, and without unity, we cannot have charity."

From the very start, the Knights of Columbus have set the pace in Catholic action and in civic and patriotic activities. They are known for donating to local charities and community based events which include:

• P.A.L. Batting Cage

• Special Police Unit

• CancerCare

• Port Washington Fire Dept.

• Port Washington Fire Medics (both Our Lady of Fatima and St. Peter's Churches)

• Deborah Heart Hospital

• St. Christopher Ottilie

• Schreiber High School and St. Peter's scholarships for students in need

• Funds for two seminarians attending the priesthood.

The Knights of Columbus are involved in several town-sponsored functions such as the Memorial Day Parade, Pride in Port Parade, HarborFest and providing the Nativity Scene on Port Washington Blvd. every year. Recently, the Knights purchased a new one with the help of many community organizations, including the John Michael Marino Lodge, Order of the Sons of Italy and the North Hempstead Businessmen's Association. Other local events the Knights participate in include Cancer Care's Red Stocking Revue, The Children's Christmas Party, the annual Theater of the Arts Show held in local schools, in addition to other community projects.

Their new headquarters, located at 155 Manorhaven Blvd., opened in October 2002. They now have a permanent home in which they can honor their goals of unity, charity, fraternity and patriotism.

The impulse for the creation of a council auxiliary came from then Grand Knight Carl Salerno. With his encouragement and the support of the council's officers, several of the wives of council members began to organize in the fall of 1966. With the expert guidance of Columbiettes State Membership Director Kitty Baxter and District Deputy Ann Peggigrino, the nucleus of the Port Washington Columbiettes was formed. In early 1967, the Supreme Council of the Columbiettes was petitioned and on March 31, 1967, the Port Washington Columbiettes received their charter. The 35 charter members elected their first president, Brigette Raimo, and began immediately to fulfill their charter mandate: to support the Knights of Columbus in all of their spiritual, fraternal, civic and charitable endeavors.

In the 40 years since their establishment, the Columbiettes have tripled their membership and made significant contributions not only to the knights, but to their community and less fortunate brothers and sisters as well.

One of their first major projects in 1967 was the establishment of a Christmas gift program for the community's servicemen in Vietnam. Proceeds from a 50-50 club were used to assist members in need. The orphans of St. Christopher's Home have had happier holidays as a result of the generosity of the Columbiettes.

In addition, the Transcription Program for the Blind was a major Columbiettes project. This group of committed women also support the programs for the education of deaf children, adopt a family at Christmas time, have a back-pack and lunchbox program for needy children, collect pennies for the seminarians and participate in "Nickels for Nuns Program" sponsored by the New York State Columbiettes.

Like the Knights, they participate in the Pride in Port Parade and dance, HarborFest, the Nativity Scene on Port Blvd., CancerCare's Red Stocking Revue, Children's Christmas Party and the Annual Theater of the Arts Show at local schools. Additionally, they support local outreach programs at St. Peter's and Fatima and visit the sick.

The Columbiettes work side by side with their brother knights in all the council's major programs. They help raise funds for the charitable and benevolent, march in the communion parades and help in their Annual Mass and Communion Breakfast and with the Knights famous family nights.

Joseph Fay 1907 - 1911
Joseph P. Kennedy 1911 - 1920
John Hutchinson 1920 - 1922
Terence McGirr 1922 - 1923
Horace A. Cowley 1923 - 1924
John G. Dalton 1924 - 1925
James McDermott 1925 - 1926
William J. Dooley 1926 - 1928
John G. Dalton 1928 - 1930
Harry J. Gilbert 1930 - 1932
James A. Ruth 1932 - 1934
John D. Fountain, FDD, FSS 1934 - 1936
Edward J. Herbert 1936 - 1938
William J. Dooley 1938 - 1939
Walter R. Cumiskey 1939 - 1941
Roland J. Pierce 1941 - 1946
W. F. Bergin 1946 - 1947
Walter R. Cumiskey 1947 - 1949
James Joyce 1949 - 1951
Nicholas J. Scobbo 1951 - 1953
Stanley J. Rummell 1953 - 1955
Anthony J. Sarli, FDD 1955 - 1957
Thomas L. Raby 1957 - 1958
Harold V. Golden 1958 - 1959
George J. Weiss 1959 - 1960
Philip N. Nofi 1960 - 1962
Max G. Blank 1962 - 1963
Vincent G. Ressa 1963 - 1964
John J. O'Grady 1964 - 1965
Edward C. Carrico 1965 - 1966
Carl J. Salerno 1966 - 1967
James Raimo 1967 - 1968
Elmer A. Saccoccia 1968 - 1969
Pasquale A. Solomita 1969 - 1970
William Bilardello 1970 - 1971
Joseph Dellavecchia 1971 - 1972
John G. O'Grady 1972 - 1973
Ralph A. Nofi 1973 - 1974
Charles Sacco 1974 - 1975
Frank Irwin, FD 1975 - 1976
Gregory Malanga 1976 - 1977
James Raimo 1977 - 1979
Matthew A. Falcone 1979 - 1980
Thomas Faticone 1980 - 1981
Angelo Mereu 1981 - 1982
Jerome Garofalo 1982 - 1983
John DeFeo 1983 - 1985
Richard Valentine 1985 - 1986
Saby D'Amico 1986 - 1987
William Day 1987 - 1988
John Hughes 1988 - 1989
Anthony Garofalo 1989 - 1990
Robert Garafalo 1990 - 1991
Thomas Faticone 1991 - 1992
Leon Jankowski 1992 - 1993
Paul Ducasse 1993 - 1994
Anthony D'Ambrosio 1994 - 1995
Anthony Cava 1995 - 1996
Nicola Pedone 1996 - 1997
Michael F. Ragusa 1997 - 1998
Anthony Carpinelli 1998 - 1999
Bernard Lough 1999 - 2000
Thomas Panullo 2000 - 2001
Fred Strang 2001 - 2003
Thomas Faticone 2003 - 2005
Michael Chester 2005 - 2007

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