Story by Janmarie Foschini
The Greenwood Lake Fire Department hosted the 103rd annual Orange County Volunteer Firemen’s Association Parade on Sat., Sept. 22 in Greenwood Lake. This celebration also honored the 95 years of service and dedication to the Village by the Greenwood Lake Volunteer Fire Department.
Orange County Volunteer Firemen’s Association (OCVFA) President John Rader was honored for his service as President during the parade. Rader, who is a Lieutenant with the Town of Warwick Police Department, has been on the Executive Board for the last six years and is current President of the OCVFA.
Rader’s father, John ‘Jack’ Rader, who is the past-president and life member of the association, was the honorary Grand Marshal. Wayne Russo, past chief, President, life member, and current Commissioner, as well as Bernie Fink, the G.L. Citizen of the Year, were marshals.
The Village streets were lined with hundreds of spectators holding and waving American Flags, cheering as the parade marched through the Village. Homes and store fronts were decorated in honor of this wonderful event.
Over 40 Fire Departments and 20 bands tool part in the celebration. Local, State and County law enforcement, emergency services, marching bands, pipes and drummers, bagpipers, Boy Scouts, Village, Town and County Officials, Ladies Auxiliaries were just among the many who participated in day long festivities.
Prior to the parade, the fire trucks were judged at the Greenwood Lake Middle School with approximately 20 trophies awarded. Following the conclusion of the parade everyone was welcomed to the Thomas P. Waterfront Park, where music was played, and food and refreshments were served.
Children were treated to face painting and snacks. Mayor Jesse Dwyer gave an opening speech and thanked the community for attending.
“Congratulations to John Rader and the Greenwood Lake Fire Department for hosting a highly successful County Fire Parade. Everything went so well thanks to the hard work and planning by the parade committee led by Jackie Lowenberg,” said Mayor Dwyer.
The evening continued with an award ceremony with trophies presented to the fire departments in a variety of categories. The top trophy was “Best Appearing Overall Firematic Unit” and was won by the Mechanicstown Fire Department. Forty trophies were handed out throughout the evening. Prior to the trophies, President Rader thanked the community and fellow firefighters for all the support he has received.
He then presented an award to Chairwoman and Vice President Jackie Lowenberg for her outstanding help and planning for the event. Past President Steve DeFeo, who is the owner of DeFeo’s Marina, was given an award as a thank you for his generous donation to pay for all of the trophies.
“It was great bringing this event to Greenwood Lake. This is home to so many and we were able to show people from all over what makes it so special to live and work here. Our department has been planning this day for over six years under the leadership of Jackie Lowenberg. As they always do in an emergency, they pull together as a team and get the job done. I am truly proud to be a part of the fire department and our community,” said Rader.
Vice President Jackie Lowenberg said, “It was my honor and privilege to be the person chosen to plan this parade to honor OCVFA President John Rader and the Greenwood Lake Fire Department. It was a great way to showcase our wonderful Village. John has worked so hard his entire life to give back to his community and this was a wonderful way to say thank you to him.”
President John Rader is an inspiration to the community and beyond. He is a pillar to society and a role model to many.