Awards, food and fun all part of annual Millbrook firemen’s dinner
From left, Millbrook Fire Department President Matt Rochfort, former fire Chief Ted Bownas and fire Chief Dominic Boscardin hold a plaque presented to Bownas in honor of his 30 years of service to the fire company, including 20 years as chief. 
Photo by Judith O’Hara Balfe

Awards, food and fun all part of annual Millbrook firemen’s dinner

MILLBROOK —  The annual Millbrook Engine, Hook & Ladder Company No. 1 dinner is a serious event, with people singled out and praised for their service to the company and the residents of Millbrook, the Town of Washington and the surrounding area.

This was the 115th anniversary of the Millbrook Fire Department, and the 45th anniversary of the fire department auxiliary, so there was much to celebrate.

But the event also seems like the social event of the season, as it always draws a huge crowd, and when Fire Company President Matt Rochfort announces the dignitaries in the room, he announces just about everyone who serves the town or village in any capacity.

Mayor Tim Collopy was unable to attend but his wife, Ceil, was there, as was Deputy Mayor Vicky Contino, who took over the mayoral introductions and remarks for Collopy.

Also present were members of the village of board of trustees; village clerk Sarah Witt; Town of Washington Supervisor Gary Ciferri; councilmembers of the town board; and Deirdre Houston, Dutchess Countyounty legislator for District 25, with her husband, Brian. Witt was on hand as members officially signed in at the end of the evening.

Ted Bownas, who just stepped down as fire chief after having served in that office from April 2012 to April 2023, was feted for his 30 years of service. The Augustine Rotunno Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Michael Masserone.

The Lynn Karn Memorial Award went to Kelly Tomasulo. The Shawn Fimbel Rookie of the Year Award went to Trevor Gruntler, and the Bert Roberts Memorial Award was presented to Peggy Mulligan.

Other recognition went to Lynn Swart for 45 years of active service in the auxiliary. She is a charter and lifetime member.

Tributes were paid to past presidents and chiefs; service awards were presented to members who responded to 100 or more calls in the past year. Special mention was made of those who had passed in the last year: Reb Powell, Tim Russell, John Evangelista and Lew Keenher, as well as Donald Cady and Don Howe from the Pleasant Valley Fire Department.

An especially poignant mention was made by Rochfort of Bob Myers, who passed in January 2023 and his wife, Kathy, who died in January 2022. He said that they had always been together, and in the passing of Bob, were reunited. He presented to their family members a joint plaque, for their combined 89 years of service.

Outgoing officers were thanked: directors Allen Meyer and Robin Horan, and acting secretary Kara Granger.

Current officers are Deputy Chief Deputy Chief Kevin Granger, Assistant Chief Ken Walsh, Capt. Tim Race Jr. and First Lt. Roland Burlingame.

The current civil officers, along with President Rochfort, are Vice President Kara Granger, treasurer Shelley Hollingsworth and acting secretary Kelly Tomasulo.

Rescue squad officers are Assistant Chief Laurie Olson, Capt. Kim Bownas, First Lt. Kevin Duncan, treasurer Shelley Hollingsworth and secretary Kim Bownas.

Auxiliary officers are President Jodi Swart, Vice President Debbie Wheeler, secretary Lynn Swart and treasurer Allison Hults.

The board of directors are Chairperson Peggy Mulligan, Deputy Chair Jodi Swart, and Leo Arruza, Brian Hicks, Terry Donoghue and Rick Seaman.

The food was prepared by Millbrook Deli, and the nearly 200 people attending seemed to thoroughly enjoy the evening. The volunteers are a vital part of the community, and enjoyed a lively night of thanks and praise.

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