Broad Channel Firefighters Say Thanks

Delegation drops by Sleepy Hollow Village Hall and parks 'old yellow' at the curb.

A delegation of volunteer firefighters from the storm-ravaged Queens community of Broad Channel thanked Sleepy Hollow officials Tuesday for their gift of the village’s surplus pumper truck.

The firefighters lost their two workhorse vehicles when Hurricane Sandy wracked the island community in late October. On Tuesday, they fittingly traveled to Sleepy Hollow in the one-time village castoff, now restored as a frontline pumper.

A familiar sight over 20 years of Sleepy Hollow service, the yellow truck gleamed once again this week beneath Beekman Avenue’s nighttime streetlights, parked in front of village hall while the men who now depend on it to fight fires had front-row seating upstairs. A half dozen of them, including Chief Dan McIntyre, occupied that first bench for a brief but heartfelt exchange with Mayor Ken Wray and the board of trustees.

Seated with their chief were Capt. John Frost, former chief Ed Wilmarth II and Firefighters Thomas Moss, Kevin Conklin and John Claudio-Bil. A seventh member, Lt. Maciej Wojewoda, kept the evening’s photographic record for Broad Channel, one of nine volunteer fire departments in New York City.

“On behalf of our town,” McIntyre said, addressing the board and, by extension, the Village of Sleepy Hollow, “thank you very much.”

Accepting the visitors’ thanks, Wray expressed gratitude as well. “Thank you for all you do,” he said, adding, “And that we should applaud.” Others in the room, including the trustees and Sleepy Hollow volunteer firefighters, did just that.

“What you do for each other and for your communities is something we cannot be reminded about too much,” Wray told the visiting volunteers.

He cited the firefighters’ “amazing” community. “For those of us who are not members, we deeply appreciate what you all do. We just don’t acknowledge it enough. And this was an opportunity waiting for us to do what we think is right, so you’re welcome. Hopefully, you won’t need another one.”

Later, Sleepy Hollow volunteers hosted their Broad Channel brothers at an informal reception in the Lawrence Avenue firehouse. 

The volunteers’ presence recalled Sandy’s wrath and ruin on a night frequently marked by sober, if at times emotional, consideration of more-recent adversity. A close-knit neighborhood was rocked Saturday by two tragedies: the death of one young mother, a widow, in an auto accident, and the fatal assault of another, an attack that took her life days later and left her husband charged as the assailant.

The meeting opened with a moment of silence to mark these events; more on this here.

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