Thursday, July 17, 2014
Convention Honors Top Legionnaire, First Responders, Programs
ALBANY — The opening day of the 96th Department Convention featured prestigious awards honoring a top legionnaire, four first responders, and Americanism programs.
Charles Schack of East Aurora Post 362 (near Buffalo in the 8th District) is the Legionnaire of the Year for all of New York State, Committee Chair James Middleton Jr. announced.
“I’m overwhelmed,” said Schack, who was recognized for his efforts to reach out to schools to teach children about America and its flag, his efforts to welcome home service members, his efforts to recruit new members of the Legion Family, and even working to find housing for a homeless vet.
Law and Order Chair Charles Hill announced top firefighter, EMT and cops. They are:
— Firefighter of the Year First Lt. Kyle Shane, who has been with the Geneva Fire Department (C.J. Folger Hook & Ladder Co.) for 13 years. He started as a volunteer firefighter at the age of 14. The Geneva High School grad was cited for saving the life of a choking victim. The city of Geneva proclaimed a “Firefighter Kyle Shane Day” last August. Shane is a U.S. Navy Persian Gulf veteran.
— Police Officer of the Year Jesse Davis of Little Falls, who is a state trooper and dog handler. He was cited for helping to train search-and-rescue teams, for speaking up for animals and children, and for organizing snowmobile rides that raised more than $100,000 for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He has been with the New York State Police for 23 years.
— EMT of the Year Arthur “Rick” Churches, who is with the Odessa Fire Department Rescue Squad. An active firefighter for 48 years, Churches helped organize the rescue squad over 29 years ago. He got involved with the fire department as a child, following in the footsteps of his father who was not only a firefighter but also Schuyler County deputy fire coordinator and New York State fire instructor. Churches teaches fire prevention in schools around the county and has held numerous leadership positions, including fire chief. He is currently fire department safety officer and rescue captain.
— Corrections Officer of the Year Sgt. Clayton Bramhall, who has been with the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office for 25 years. In addition to being a shift supervisor for a 632-bed jail, Bramhall serves as coordinator for the Sheriff’s Color Guard and as an instructor for new recruits at the police academy. He participates in numerous public events around the county. Noting he was a former Marine, Bramhall said he was honored to be in the presence of so many veterans and quipped: “Semper Fi!”
Americanism Chairman Edward Mallicoat announced distinguished and meritorious awards for children/youth/family programs, noting that 596 out of 893 posts submitted reports.
A National Distinguished Service Award goes to Hamburg Post 527 (Erie County, District 8), and a National Meritorious Service Award goes to New Hartford Post 1376 (Oneida County, District 5).
Department Distinguished Service Awards, by category, go to:
Cat. I: Eastport Post 1545 (Suffolk County, District 10).
Cat. II: Seneca Falls Post 366 (Seneca County, District 7).
Cat. III: Penny Yan Post 355 (Yates County, District 7).
Cat. IV: Jamestown Post 777 (Cattaraugus County, District 8).
Department Meritorious Service Awards go to:
Cat. I: Rochester Post 134 (Monroe County, District 7).
Cat. II: Mahopac Post 1080 (Putnam County, District 9).
Cat. III: Poughkeepsie Post 1302 (Dutchess County, District 9).
Cat. IV: Corning Post 746 (Steuben County, District 7).