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Massena Volunteer Fire Department selects Hartford as Fireman of the Year

pMASSENA — Shawn Hartford celebrated his birthday on Saturday, but there was another celebration waiting in the wings — the announcement that he had been named Fireman of the Year for the Massena Volunteer Fire Department./ppMr. Hartford was recognized during the department’s annual banquet, where he was serving as master of ceremonies./ppChief Timothy Quenneville said there were many candidates for this year’s honor./pp“One stood above the others for the service rendered to the department and its members, not only this year, but every year since joining,” he said./ppHe said that since Mr. Hartford joined the fire department just under five years ago, he had taken the initiative to continue his training in a number of areas./pp“He put his training to use for his employer, joining Alcoa’s Fire Brigade,” Mr. Quenneville said./ppIn addition, he said, Mr. Hartford “continuously serves as an example to our members. Rarely a day goes by when he’s not present at the fire house in some capacity.”/ppMr. Hartford said he was humbled to receive the award./pp“There are so many other people in here who deserve this award,” he said. “It means the absolute world to me. My heart is in this department, and I hope everybody that joins feels the same way.”/ppHe said he would not have received the award without help from others./pp“It’s not a one-man show. I couldn’t do what I do without everybody else. There are so many other members that deserve this more than me. I appreciate it more than you will ever know,” Mr. Hartford said./ppThe celebration wasn’t over after he received the award, though. The lights in the banquet room were dimmed, and a birthday cake was brought out of the kitchen as the guests sang, “Happy Birthday.”/ppIt was a night of recognizing members of the department, as well as those who had helped them through the year. Among the other honors was a recognition of John Ledger for 50 years of service to the department./ppMr. Quenneville that said after Mr. Ledger joined the department in 1969, he became a member of the department’s racing team, which was disbanded in 1972./pp“Since 1972 he has been a part of the Northern New York and New York State Parade and Drill Officials Association,” he said./ppMr. Ledger was hired as a permanent firefighter in 1987 and retired from that role in 2007. He has served in many other capacities around the department, and was named Fireman of the Year in 2004./ppMr. Ledger was also recognized by Joe Finnegan, representing the officers and members of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York./ppMr. Finnegan said Mr. Ledger has served as an ambassador not only for Massena, but also the county and state./pp“Thanks. You’ve been a good friend. Most of all, you represent what volunteer fire and emergency services are all about,” Mr. Finnegan said./ppSeveral organizations and individuals received certificates for their assistance to the fire department over the past year./pp“Take a look at it for what it really is. It’s a heartfelt thank you. It’s a sign of mutual respect and it’s an acknowledgement that all you do for our department does not go unnoticed,” Mr. Hartford said./ppDuring Fire Prevention Week the department visited schools to give fire safety presentations and also held its annual drill on the Grasse River bridge in downtown Massena./p


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