The Hicksville Fire Department kicked off its 125th anniversary week-long celebration last week with the Hicksville Junior Firefighters receiving the 2018 Youth Group of the Year award. This prestigious award was issued by the Fireman’s Association State of New York (FASNY) on Sunday, July 8, and presented in a special ceremony at the Hicksville Fire Department headquarters by FASNY 1st Vice President Steven Klein and other FASNY officials. Numerous citations were given by representatives of FASNY, state and local legislators, and the Nassau County Firemen’s Association.
This honor is bestowed once per year upon a single youth group in New York State by FASNY’s committee on Youth in the Fire Service in recognition of the recipient’s dedication to both fire safety and community service.
The Hicksville Fire Department Juniors are a strong example as for why youth programs are so important. The Juniors are extremely dedicated to both community service and to enriching the fire service, as made evident through the ties they have forged with other local fire department youth programs.
“Youth groups and explorer programs are an extremely important part of the fire service,” said FASNY President Ken Pienkowski. “The Hicksville Fire Department Juniors are an outstanding example of fire service youth groups and embody the qualities inherent to the fire service. They should be proud to receive this award and serve as a model for similar programs across the State of New York. They are an admirable recipient of this year’s Youth Group of the Year award.”
At the time of nomination, this youth program had 23 members between the ages of 14-18. The leadership team conducts monthly meetings and schedules weekly Sunday morning drills with various companies with the Hicksville Fire Department. The Juniors train in skills using SCBA such as reduced profiles, FAST operations, search operations, mayday procedures, forced entry, hand lines, ground ladders, tower ladders and Stokes operations.
The Hicksville Junior firefighters have a long tradition of proceeding to serve with distinction in the fire service. In 1971, the Hicksville Fire Department officers and members saw an opportunity to begin a youth program in which the community’s youth would be mentored by the department’s firefighters to be able to serve the community in the future. The alumni of this group include a Chief of the Department, three fire commissioners and numerous fire officers.
“We continue to witness the success of this youth program as these Junior members enter our department as probationary members and excel in our in-house probationary classes as well as at the Nassau County Fire Service Academy,” said William B. Blazo, commissioner, Hicksville Fire District, and Junior Advisor. “The Hicksville Fire Department Junior Program has positively impacted the youth of our community as our current Hicksville Fire Department membership boasts one past Junior as a Chief, three past Juniors as Commissioners and five past members serving as Company officers. The group is the pinnacle in the field of recruitment and retention, and their eagerness to train prompts the various department companies to get out and train with them—a win-win for all.”
—Submitted by FASNY