Importance of Volunteers  – The Warwick Valley Dispatch

 By Lourice Angie


As part of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) statewide RecruitNY recruitment drive, the Warwick Fire Department (WFD) held an open house at Station #1 located at 25 Church St., off Forrester Ave. in Warwick, on Sat., Apr. 24. The event highlighted the many rewards and responsibilities of becoming a volunteer firefighter, while helping raise public awareness of the importance and need of volunteers in the community. 

Volunteer first responders are crucial in helping their community in times of need and emergency situations that not only involve people, but animals as well. The department is also instrumental in educating the community in fire safety. Volunteers embody a great sense of accomplishment and achievement and take pride in what they do within the community. Those are just some of the important characteristics of becoming a volunteer firefighter along with many rewarding incentives and retirement benefits.  

There was a very successful turnout for the recruitment drive, as dozens of children and families visited the fire house throughout the day. Volunteer firefighters gave tours of the fire station, fire trucks and explained the uses of their apparatus and gear. In addition, they featured educational, fun, and interactive demonstrations of the fire extinguisher simulator and conducted a live extrication. Younger children were given gift bags filled with WFD goodies including stuffed animals, fire helmets, coloring pages, tot finder, “pet inside” stickers and more.  

The Orange County Sheriff’s Child Safety ID Unit was also on hand at the event to provide photo print identification to interested parents and the New York State Police provided fingerprint imaging demonstrations.

Volunteers Are Age 16 & Up

Visitors ages 16 and older had a chance to interact with volunteer firefighters, ask questions and get a better understanding of the importance and need of volunteer first responders within the community. By the end of the day the WFD membership committee had received two new applicants as part of the WFD RecruitNY recruitment drive. 

WFD Volunteer firefighter Kaitlin Wendel, whose father, Art Wendel, has served in the WFD for over 42 years says that becoming a volunteer first responder is one the most rewarding things she has ever done.

“This is a way to help my community and it’s something special, not everybody can do it, so if you can, you should.” said Wendel.

First Asst. Chief Mike Contaxis gave a special thanks to the entire WFD, past president Captain John Woloszczak for the use of the retired 1981 Hooks Ladder Truck, the New York State Police and Orange County Sheriff’s Office. 

“Our firefighters showed what it’s like to be a volunteer firefighter for the young adults and the ones who want to volunteer,” Contaxis stated. 

If anyone was unable to attend the recruitment drive and is interested in information on becoming a volunteer firefighter, contact the WFD membership committee at:

Photo by Lourice Angie

On Sat., Apr. 24 the WFD held an open house at station #1 located at 25 Church St., in Warwick, as part of the FASNY RecruitNY Recruitment Drive. The event highlighted the importance and benefits of becoming a volunteer firefighter in the community. 

Photo by Lourice Angie

Firefighter’s gear at the ready at WFD Station #1. The protective equipment helps keep a firefighter from being seriously injured. 

Photo by Lourice Angie

The Warwick Fire Department held a successful open house as part of the FASNY RecruitNY Recruitment Drive at fire station #1 in Warwick, on Sat., Apr 24. Joseph Hooper, 18, right, is interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter. WFD 2nd Asst. Chief Andrew Lemin (left) & Volunteer FF Joseph Schweizer (center) were happy to help him apply.  . 

Photo by Lourice Angie

Ryan Lanigan, 8, & brother Cody, 2, enjoyed exploring fire trucks and apparatus displayed at fire station #1 on Church St., in Warwick, during an open house recruitment drive held on Sat., Apr 24. 

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