PFD Holds Installation Dinner

State Senator Peter Harckham and Sheriff Butch Anderson at the Pawling Fire Department Installation Dinner on March 2.

On Saturday, March 2, the Pawling Fire Department held its Installation Dinner in Scully Hall on the Trinity-Pawling campus. The event was attended by more than 150 guests and served as an official installation ceremony for department officers as well as an award ceremony to honor the bravery and hard work of PFD members.

The evening’s festivities were led by Master of Ceremonies Dutchess County Sheriff Butch Anderson and included appearances by State Senator Peter Harckham, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro and several local officials. In all, fourteen officers were sworn in, as well as members of the department’s Executive Board, Ladies Auxiliary, and Fire Police.

Following the Installation Ceremony, department officials distributed a number of awards to PFD members in recognition of their dedicated service. President’s Awards were given to Josh Sheldon, Tom Ward, and Albert Akin in recognition of their efforts at department events and the department’s day-to-day operations. Station Awards were given to Mike Brown (Station 1), Mark Bailey (Station 2), and Albert Akin (Station 3).

This year’s “24/7/365” Award was given to John Beckett. “This is given to someone who is always around,” explained PFD Chief Everett White. “He answers the calls in the middle of the night and is always around when we need his help.”

Officer of the Year was awarded to two recipients: Francis Schmitt and Tim Higgins. “These are the officers who really stepped up this year to make sure their stations are clean and well run, and managed their firefighters well,” White said. The Chief’s Appreciation Award was given to Chris Greene and Dennis Brunow. “This is for the guys who make my life easier,” said White. “Chris has really stepped up his game, and Dennis does a lot of things around the firehouse that go unseen. A lot of this award is in recognition of the things that people don’t necessarily know about.”

The coveted Firefighter of the Year Award was presented to Tom Ward. “This award is for a person who, overall, exemplifies the actions, behaviors, dedication, and compassion that a firefighter should have,” White explained. “He’s the guy who shined throughout the year.”

During the evening, Christopher Lapp became a PFD Lifetime Member, and Dennis Brunow was recognized for 50 years of continuous service.

The event concluded with a bell ceremony honoring the members of the department who passed away over the previous year. This year, Everett “Skip” Reid, Augustine “Augie” Baldino, and Joe McGee were all honored. The bell was also chimed to honor the 50th anniversary of the line-of-duty death of Nicholas Taska.