Story by Sara Paul
This Spring, in the midst of Warwick Valley’s life threatening rain, wind, and worse, Warwick High School senior Richard “Richie” Pasiut witnessed a horrific car crash.
Braving dangerous weather and traffic conditions on Sanfordville Rd., the trained volunteer firefighter in Warwick Fire Department’s (FD) Engine 3 and an Eagle Scout recipient, Richie donned his FD uniform and headed to the mangled vehicle.
Luckily, there were no serious injuries, though the accident still called for Richie’s know how in directing traffic and helping police officials on the scene.
Nervously waiting at home for her 18 year old son, who was now quite late, Cheryl Pasiut was both proud and relieved when her younger son, Colby, phoned that all was well.
“I was very worried and wasn’t sure why he was delayed, but when I found out, it didn’t surprise me that he was helping others,” recalls Mrs. Pasiut.
Richard Pasiut III was born on Valentine’s Day in 2000, another day his mom will never forget.
“I didn’t get flowers that day because by the time Richie’s dad got to the store, they were all gone!,” she remembers with a loving smile.
Richie retorts without a pause, “You didn’t get a dozen roses, but that day, you got me.”
His response helps to depict a young man who humbly downplays his role as a good son and good citizen.
This June, the Warwick resident will graduate from Warwick Valley High School, earning the Warwick Fire Department Community Service Award and Scholarship. He will also be dubbed an Eagle Scout, the highest honor a Boy Scout can achieve.
Richie’s summer will be packed with his volunteer firefighter shifts as well as a paid post as a Sales Associate at Garden State Koi in Warwick NY. Though a new employee at the Koi shop, Richie’s co-workers are already impressed with his maturity and responsibility.
“He’s just a really good, hard-working kid,” noted Retail Manager Bob Adams, who trusts the newbie with a variety of tasks including operating large machinery.
In the fall, the high school grad plans to attend SUNY Orange to study Fire Protection Technology. His goal is to join the Fire Department of New York City (FDNY) or become an EMT – occupations he has been driving towards since a young age, and now especially as a local volunteer.
“I’ve always wanted to be a firefighter. The job really keeps you on your toes, and I’m happy to learn a lot and help out in my community,” commented the 6’4” tall teen.
With eight plus years of scouting, this hard-working citizen has clocked hundreds of volunteer hours. One of his biggest projects, an undertaking dear to his heart, was the refurbishing of the “Field of Dreams” Little League Field dugouts. The run down facilities that were once home to the former Mid-Orange Correctional Facility are utilized by the disabled youth and Warwick Little League.
For his Eagle Scouts project, Richie demonstrated his leadership skills by managing a team of three professional adults and 10 kids for a total of 73 volunteer hours he coordinated to benefit the “Beautiful People.”
Richie’s achievements in scouting also include the Triple Crown High Adventure Award after he ventured to three high adventure Boy Scout camps, including Philmont, where he hiked 120 Rocky Mountain miles in a week.
“I will always be a Scout, and I plan to always be involved and give back,” noted Richie, who, as an adult, can now serve as an Assistant Scout Master.
The hours spent volunteering in Boy Scouts plus other community service will have Richie exceeding the mandatory 50 hour minimum every Warwick H.S. grad must complete. By graduation he will have put in some 150 hours of volunteering with efforts on the Wounded Warrior Project, assistant coaching for Warwick Youth Football and the Warwick Fire Department.
Spare time finds the teen of all trades amidst both spares and strikes as an award winning bowler. The young saxophonist also plays in the high school concert band.
There’s one thing this always active man does not have time for, however, and that’s staying indoors.
“I can’t stay inside and play video games. I have to be outside, whether it’s fishing with my dad, camping, or just hanging out in the yard and playing with my dogs,” he said.
Indeed, the outdoorsman urges all young adults to put down their Xbox controllers and their iPhones and taste what nature has to offer.
“Challenge yourself to just be outside for one week with no electronics. Try new things. Go fishing, go camping, go hiking,” Pasiut urges.
His dad, Rich Pasiut, agrees, “Since Richie was little he has always loved the outdoors and wanted to help people. It was only natural that he joined Boy Scouts and had such a great scouting experience and career.”
As the young hero wraps up his final thoughts on life, his words are simple, yet inspiring: “We all can make a difference, we just need to try.”
The Warwick Valley Dispatch would like to feature young people of Warwick who are doing meaningful things. Whether in school, athletics, in the community or at home, we know there are many moving stories that need to be told. These “hero” stories can be from the incredible to the mundane, from the kid who saved his dog from drowning to the teen who takes care of a sibling with special needs. The Dispatch asks that if you know of any young individuals who would be appropriate for these human interest pieces, that you contact Sara Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.