This year the department chose a new venue for the dinner – Rolling Greens at the Dutchess Golf & Country Club, with music provided by DJ Andrew “Enriquez” Nikola.
Chief Bob Troncillito had two special honors to award – one to 50-year member Brian Johnson and another to Cal Cosman, who has served for more than 61 years and whose fire helmet #38 was retired that evening in his honor.
Johnson, who received his 50th pin and a plaque, said he enjoyed “every minute” of his service to the community.
“I’ve been secretary, 2nd lieutenant, been a driver for most of it [and] now I’m a fire policeman,” Johnson said.
Johnson said his family ties to the Marlboro Fire Department began in 1917 when his grandfather joined, followed by his father and then himself, who have collectively served the community for 95 years.
“I enjoy helping out, really, and just doing something for the town,” he said.
Johnson said over the years he has witnessed incidents of joy and exhilaration when a life or a home is saved and moments of heartbreak when someone is lost or a property is completely destroyed.
“That’s the tough ones,” he said with a catch in his voice.
Johnson said he has always enjoyed the camaraderie within the company and likens it to an extended family.
Cal Cosman also served in a variety of positions in the department from lieutenant, assistant chief and as chief. He said his “retired” helmet will join many other memorabilia at home, with his wife Ruth Ann gently kidding, “I was just asking where are we going to put it. All the walls are full and down the hallways.”
Cosman said serving in the Marlboro Department was never a chore.
“I just loved it. I like to go [on a call],” he said. “I drove everything; all the different stuff.”
Ruth Ann agreed, saying, “believe me, he was very dedicated.”
Troncillito said the department members take office in January each year but they wait for better weather in the spring to hold the dinner. He said the evening is a small way for the District to say thanks to members, families and supporters of the Hose Company.
“Nobody’s getting paid and we don’t get anything else,” Troncillito said. “It’s a little atta-boy for the guys, wives and significant others. It’s a nice little perk for everybody.”
Troncillito noted that they also extend invitations to the surrounding fire companies with whom they share mutual aid in emergencies.
Troncillito said he receives great support from the Board of Fire Commissioners, all of the active members as well as the Ladies Auxiliary.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and its so rewarding from the support that you get,” he said. “I look at the calls we go out on and no one ever complains; I don’t care if its 2 o’clock in the morning or 2 o’clock in the afternoon, the guys are available and the gals are there.”
The chief said he and the company take pride in helping an individual or a family in distress “and doing a good job at it.”
Troncillito also publicly recognized several others for their service in 2011: Anthony Libonati for Top Responder Driver; Mark Cialgia for Top Responder for Firefighter; Mark Caserto for Rookie of the Year and Cory Rhynehart for Line Officer. Troncillito singled out one individual, Joseph Mericle, for two honors – Top Responder for Fire Police and for Firefighter of the Year.
By MARK REYNOLDS