Harriman - A gathering of very grateful first responders, including nearly a dozen firefighting units from districts in Orange County met at the Harriman Engine District #2 Headquarters. Harriman Mayor Lou Medina, his Councilmembers and Woodbury Mayor Andrew Giacomazza were also present while Senator James Skoufis presented a check in the amount of $1.3 M to first responders of Orange County. Skoufis said "This may be the largest grant ever given to local firefighters from the Legislature in Albany. He introduced the Joint Monroe-Harriman Engine Co. #2 Chief Rich Lenahan who said "We do this for free. We don't ask for any payback. This is our reward."
Senator Skoufis said he is responding to feedback from these public safety professionals that while volunteer recruitment is an increasing challenge the cost of resources continue to rise while communities grow, and there is then more property for them to protect. This will help bolster public safety and ensure much-needed resources for these volunteers. He added that he is far from done, and he plans to continue seeking grants for public safety issues throughout the remainder of this year and again next year.
Fire Chief Brian Blakener from Pine Island emphasized that resources are sometimes especially challenging for a small all-volunteer district. He said "Our district may be small, but our fires are just as important. Getting the best equipment will ensure that we can do the job that we have to."
Skoufis also thanked Vinny Tankesali, the County Fire Coordinator, for making sure that his team had all the information they needed to get the grant and that they could not have done it without him.