May 19 and 20, 2017
A heartfelt thank you to our volunteers, LAFASNY and the City of Hudson Fire Department, who gave countless hours to make the FASNY Firefighter’s Home 125th Anniversary Celebration a momentous occasion. We also wish to acknowledge the individuals and organizations who donated to the 125th Anniversary Appeal to make this event possible. Your generosity is truly appreciated by the FASNY leadership, staff and members of the FASNY Firefighter’s Home.
In 1892, volunteer fire organizations came from across New York State to witness and celebrate the laying of the cornerstone for the new Firefighter’s Home in Hudson. Since the 1888 New York State Firemen’s Convention in Cortland, steps had taken place to erect a building for indigent, sick or disabled firemen who had no home of their own. Under the leadership of George W. Anderson, these plans finally came to fruition and the construction of the first Home began. It would become the first institution of its kind in the United States to serve volunteer firemen.
Fast-forward to 125 years later and that spirit and commitment of the Firefighters Association of the State of New York has not changed. Even though George W. Anderson might not have envisioned the current modern skilled facility, he surely would be quite pleased with how FASNY has continued its tradition of caring. The Firefighter’s Home is a true testament speaking to FASNY’s belief that the family of firefighting does not end at the firehouse door, but extends even after the volunteer can no longer be active.
FASNY has always cared for their members as if they were family and, as they did 125 years before, volunteer fire organizations from across New York State came together to celebrate and honor that special place called the Firefighter’s Home on May 19 and 20, 2017. The weekend-long Home 125th Anniversary Celebration began with the unveiling of the Caring Window and the Resident Council’s Memorial Service. The Chapel was filled to capacity as FASNY President Kenneth Pienkowski and Home Board of Trustees President David F. Schmidt drew back a curtain to reveal the stunning stained glass window designed by Willet Hauser Architectural Glass.
The window depicts a scene in which four firefighters are rescuing and caring for two children while another firefighter extinguishes the flames. In the background of the rescue scene are the gates of the Firefighter’s Home, which serves as a reminder that FASNY will always provide a refuge for volunteer firefighters. Following the unveiling of the window, Resident Council President Edward Schindler and Vice President Robert Fonk remembered with gratitude 17 Home members who passed away during the past year. Recollections were given on each of the deceased members and Resident Council Sergeant-at-Arms Brian Navom lit a candle to honor their memory. It was a beautiful service and FASNY could not have chosen a more fitting place or event for the beginning of the Home’s 125th Anniversary Celebration. Home members were up bright and early the next day to get ready for Saturday’s parade and muster. Robert H. Hicks of the Manhasset-Lakeville No. 3 Fire Co. and William Hills of the North Amityville Fire Co. served as the Home’s Grand Marshals. Mr. Hicks was admitted to the Firemen’s Home in February 1999 and is the Home’s longest-staying member. Mr. Hills is the Home’s oldest member at age 100. Both were dressed in their fire company uniforms and were thrilled to represent the Home in the parade. Members were able to view the parade and all the weekend events by either attending or watching it live streamed to their televisions.
After enjoying the parade and the activities associated with the muster, there was a Brick Memorial Dedication Ceremony. FASNY Immediate Past President Robert N. McConville, Second Vice President John P. Farrell, Jr. and Home Board of Trustees Vice President Wayne Butts uncovered the obelisk stone during the ceremony. Added to the stone were the gates of the Home, the Caring Window emblem and the date commemorating the 125th Anniversary. The program also included plaques presented by the FASNY Board of Directors, Home Board of Trustees and LAFASNY leadership. Several proclamations were given by state and local dignitaries in honor of the Home’s anniversary.
As the festivities of the day were ending, members got dressed in their very best to attend their banquet. The ladies from LAFASNY decorated the dining room to match the same atmosphere as Anthony’s Banquet Hall, including the wine glasses, centerpieces, commemorative coins and commemorative Caring Window pins. Members also had the same food selections of bacon-wrapped scallops, chicken francaise, prime rib and stuffed filet of sole that were offered to those attending the banquet in Catskill. Live music entertainment was provided for members to enjoy as they celebrated the occasion.
It was truly an amazing weekend made possible by FASNY leadership, Home staff, and the many volunteers and supporters of the Home. Residents thoroughly enjoyed the Celebration and Home staff members said it gave them a sense of pride to be involved with such a great organization. The Home has seen several changes over 125 years, but the commitment to providing only the very best for its members has never changed. FASNY has always cared for their own as family and the Home looks to continue that same tradition for decades to come.