Story by Lourice Angie
In continuing the celebration of the Village of Warwick Sesquicentennial, residents gathered at Railroad Green for a “First Responders Day” celebration on Sat., Oct. 14, honoring the Warwick and Greenwood Lake Police Departments, the Warwick Fire Department, Warwick EMS, and the Warwick Department of Public Works (DPW).
It was the safest place to be in all of Warwick, knowing that at a moment’s notice those in attendance would all be protected and their lives could be saved. The special event provided the public with a chance to interact with, thank and honor the hard work, service and efforts of first responders and their families.
A First Responder is a trained and certified person such as a Police Officer, EMT or Firefighter that arrives and responds to the scene of an emergency. Whether it is an emergency, festivity or snow day, these are the people who proudly, bravely and humbly serve the community.
First Responders Day was held in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week, which was organized by Fire Captain Mike Contaxis of the Excelsior Hose Co. 1 and firefighter Kevin Columbo. Firefighters visited local schools throughout the week to teach children rules and safety precautions in the event of a fire.
Interactive events offered on Saturday included “Touch a Truck,” where children of all ages were able to explore the vehicles of local EMS, Ambulance, Police, Fire, and DPW departments. There was also a live fire and hose demonstration along with car seat safety checks by G.L. Police Officers and K9 demonstrations conducted by Police Officer Kevin Halsey and his partner Nicky, and Officer Vincent Cossentino and his partner Tank.
The Warwick Fire Department put together a display of historical photos and items, some that dated back to the early 1800s. Many items are also on display at Newhards storefront window and represent each of the groups of first responders. There were also a few antique fire trucks displayed at the event, which also featured prizes, balloons, pizza, and lemonade, and concluded with a special commemorative cake cutting.
Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard shared some words with everyone at the event, thanking the first responders for contributing incomparable services to the community.
“Today we have EMT, Fire Department, Warwick Police Department, and the Village’s Department of Public Works. We’ve seen some incredible disasters over time, but we pull through and we pull through because of the protection that we have from these groups; but also because the men and women of our community pull together and become stronger. This is what today it’s all about. It’s also about young children finding out why these things are important to us as a community,” said Newhard.
The Mayor called upon Deputy Town Supervisor Jim Gerstner who spoke on behalf of Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton, who was unable to attend.
“I would like to thank the Village and the Sesquicentennial Committee, and we would also like to thank our Police Department for their dedication and service, our EMS and Fire Departments, the men and women that do such a great job, also in Greenwood Lake and Pine Island,” said Gerstner.
Mayor Newhard then introduced Warwick Police Sgt. Ed Mullins, who shared a few words and was then presented with a plaque honoring the Warwick Police Department.
“The Police have been amazing this year,” said Newhard. “There’s been a parade down Main St. it like seems every week, or a some activity or festivity that has been Sesquicentennial related and they have been great sports and understand the importance to the local people of celebrating a community.”
Sgt. Mullins said, “One thing that helps good policing is good neighbors. What I found in Warwick is that people look out for each other and when you’re looking out for your neighbor, that helps solve crime.”
Warwick Ambulance Chief Frank Cassanite said, “I would like to congratulate the Mayor and the Village Board on a great year for the 150th anniversary and the many events. We have also not missed a parade either. Here in Warwick you should you be very proud of the emergency services that operate together. Anytime any one of us needs something, we just ask the other. We have a great emergency service group and I do appreciate it and I know you do too.”
Mayor Newhard then presented Cassanite with a special commemorative plaque and thanked the EMT Department for all of their service.
Mayor Newhard then brought up Warwick Fire Chief Phil Ciallela and Captain Mike Contaxis to speak. Chief Ciallela thanked everyone for coming out and congratulated Contaxis on the great work done with Fire Prevention Week. He congratulated the Mayor on the Village’s 150 year Anniversary.
“We are always looking for volunteers. Our doors are always open and we always need volunteers,” said Ciallela.
Captain Mike Contaxis said, “We’ve been doing prevention for a lot of years. Fire Prevention is one of the great things I love to do in the community.”
Last, but definitely not least, Mayor Newhard called upon Mike Moser of the Village Department of Public Works to come and accept the special Sesquicentennial First Responders plaque. Newhard commended the unsung work and effort of the DPW.
“I’m very glad to have our Public Works Department here today, because these men do an incredible job. The minute the snowflake falls or the minute a water main breaks, they are on the job. Sometimes we take that for granted because they don’t have sirens; they just do the work and help protect our infrastructure.” said Mayor Newhard.