On a recent Saturday evening, the Roslyn Highlands Fire Department placed all of their trucks onto the ramp of the firehouse and transformed the truck room into a party room. The occasion was a dual 50th Anniversary Party for Ex-Chiefs Frank Sokolski and Carmen Ceriello.
Over 100 people attended the affair including the chiefs, families, co-workers and the officers and members of the department. The two honorees were picked up and escorted to headquarters in the Chief of Departments vehicle. Upon their arrival, all of the officers and members lined up at attention and welcomed the two chiefs with a well earned hand salute.
Welcoming the two guests of honor, the officers and members of the Roslyn Highlands Fire Department salute Ex-Chiefs Ceriello and Sokolski, being escorted by Asst. Chief McGeown.
Many elected officials were in attendance that evening, including State Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli, State Senator Michael Balboni, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor May Newburger and East Hills Mayor Michael Koblenz. Representing County Executive Thomas Suozzi was Fifth Battalion Fire Commissioner William Swift. Also attending were the officers from the Roslyn Rescue Fire Department, led by Chief Liotta and President Krukowski.
Ex-Chief Ceriello was elected to membership in the Roslyn Highlands Fire Department on Sept. 8, 1952. In 1954 he entered the U.S. Army. One of Ceriello's assignments in the Army was in the Ceremonial Detachment. In 1958 he was elected 2nd deputy chief of the Roslyn Heights, a post he held for two years. In 1960, he was elected 1st deputy chief, again serving in that capacity for two years. In 1962, Ceriello was elected to chief of department, becoming the youngest chief elected only ten years after becoming a member.
Ceriello has served on many of the departments committees, most notably, he was chairman of the committee to purchase the first chief's car. He is a member of a host of organizations and a delegate to the North Shore Fire Council, Nassau County Fireman's Association and Nassau County Chiefs Council, as well as the New York State Chiefs Association, Southern NY, Fireman's Association and the Fifth Battalion Chiefs Organization.
Ceriello's family has made its presence known over the years in Roslyn Highlands. His brother Michael is also a 50-year member, his nephew John is still an active member and nephews Michael, Jr. and Joseph have served with us. Ceriello's stepson Gary is a past president of the department, and grandsons Jason and Daryl have also served with the department.
Ceriello is active in the department, making meetings, drills and fires. He is currently the superintendent of highways for the Village of East Hills. He and his wife Irene reside in Roslyn Heights.
Ex-Chief Frank Sokolski was elected to membership on Oct. 6, 1952. In October of 1955, he entered the US Navy. While in the Navy, he attended Fire Control Technician School, and was then assigned to the destroyer Samuel B. Roberts DD823, where he stayed until 1958.
In 1965, he was elected to the position of Chaplain of the Roslyn Highlands. In 1966, he was elected to 2nd deputy chief, a post he held for two years. In 1968, he was elected to the post of 1st deputy chief, again for two years. In 1970, he was elected to the position of Chief of Department and served his two-year term. In 1973, Sokolski was elected to trustee and is currently in his 20th three-year term in that position. In 1969 he was named Fireman of the Year and also served as president of the Fifth Battalion Fire Chiefs Association.
Sokolski has served on many committees and has served as delegate to the North Shore Fire Council, Nassau County Fireman's Association and Nassau County Chiefs Council, as well as the NYS Chiefs Association, Southern NY Fireman's Association and the Fifth Battalion Chiefs Organization.
His late wife, Barbara, was a past president of the Nassau County Ladies Auxiliary, and was always a supporter of our Fire Department. Barbara's father, Thomas Kotkiewicz, was also a member of our department. Frank's sons, Joseph, Stephen and Henry are all members. Stephen is still active and serves as the department treasurer.
Sokolski is still active in the department as senior trustee and is now giving the department more time as he recently retired from the Nassau County Fire Marshalls Office after 26 years of service. He lives in Roslyn Heights with his wife Anna.