HFD 2019 Awards Ceremony
By Member Alan Zale
September 20, 2019

Three Life Saving Awards were the highlight of the annual Hartsdale Fire Department Awards Ceremony held at Station 2 on Tuesday evening, September 10, 2019.

HFD Chief Ed Rush, who presided over the event, said this is the most exciting night of the year for him, as it is an opportunity to recognize the hard work and dedication of the members of the department.

The first Life Saving Award went to Captain Peter Aquilino and Firefighters Josh Gullotta, Chris Duffelmeyer, and Tim Collins, who rendered aid to a cardiac arrest patient in her home, resulting in the patient’s life being saved on October 14, 2018.

Firefighters Frank Gray and Kerry Merkel, and Captain Aquilino, received the second Life Saving Award for their action on April 16, 2019. Upon arriving on the scene they were directed to the basement where they found the patient and a large pool of blood. The patient had slipped on the floor and shattered a mirror severing an artery in his wrist. HFD members applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding and applied a sterile dressing. They also treated the patient for hypovolemic shock, and finally, assisted the Greenburgh Police Department in removing the patient from the basement to the stretcher for transport to the hospital.

The final Life Saving Award presented went to Firefighters Merkel and Duffelmeyer, for treating a person in cardiac arrest, at a construction site, on May 23, 2019. While FF Duffelmeyer assisted on compressions, FF Merkel monitored the cardiac monitor, at one point advising that the monitor indicated another defibrillation needed to be given. The actions of all involved resulted in the patient’s life being saved.

A Unit Citation was also awarded to all members of the HFD who operated at this construction site scene for their actions that resulted in the successful resuscitation of the construction worker. Honored were Deputy Chief Bill Perritt, Captain Frank Musorrafiti, and Firefighters Ian Forbes, Tim Collins, Chris Duffelmeyer, John Lombardo, Brian Morris, Kerry Merkel and Andrew Roberto.

Firefighter Brian Townsend was honored with the Commissioner’s Award. On New Years Eve, members of the department assisted a person who was locked out of her apartment. After regaining entry to the person’s apartment, it was determined that the door lock could no longer be safely used, possibly preventing the person from exiting her apartment in the event of an emergency. FF Townsend said he would be right back and then returned with a doorknob assembly that he had removed from his own apartment. It was installed in the resident’s apartment, allowing her safe access to and from the apartment until proper repairs could be made.

Chief Rush received the New York State Career Chief’s Chief of the Year Award.

The following members of the Department were also honored for their length of service to the Hartsdale Fire District: FF Frank Lacalamita, 30 years, Chief Rush, 25 years, FF Eric Vandenberg and FF Jim Connors, 20 years and Secretary/Treasurer Sharon Spagnoli, 20 years.

Also, during the awards ceremony, Captain Jeff Argow was presented his retirement plaque for his many years of service to the Hartsdale Fire District.

Prior to handing out the awards, Fire Commissioner Chairman Anthony Frasca swore in probationary Firefighters John McGuinn and Mike Ciliberto who are now in training at the Westchester Fire Academy. Photos by Alan Zale