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Port Jervis Half-Century-Plus Firefighter Honored with Newly Created Title

By SHARON SIEGEL, Senior Correspondent | June 14, 2021 | NEW YORK

Story No. 061421106

PORT JERVIS, NY - Port Jervis Fire Department honored a member of its department for decades of active service in June, and bestowed upon him a newly created department title.

Thomas J. Vicchiariello, a member of Excelsior Engine Co. No. 5 and 56-year PJFD firefighter, was presented with a Proclamation of Appreciation on June 7, 2021 naming him a PJFD Honorary Deputy Chief, and a badge indicating the same.

PJFD Chief Dominic M. Cicalese made the presentation to Vicchiariello during the all-volunteer 174-year-old department’s June Board of Officers meeting.

Cicalese, along with 1st Assistant Chief Keith K. Brown and 2nd Assistant Chief Anthony W. Fuller, thanked officers of the department as well as company, squad line, and civil officers, and apparatus chauffeurs for their contributions during the past year before presenting the special individual honor to Vicchiariello.

The proclamation reads, in part, “The outstanding contributions of a particular member is deserving of special recognition of his decades of selfless service and special contributions to the overall good and continued success of the Port Jervis Fire Department.”

Cicalese explained how the Honorary Deputy Chief designation came about earlier this year. PJFD chiefs decided that they wanted to create a title that symbolized something more than just an award, as Cicalese said a lot of larger departments do. The new title is meant to recognize both firefighters and community member civilians who have contributed to the betterment of the department throughout the years.

“By creating this position that person will forever be recognized by our department as also signified by a badge #,” Cicalese said. “Thomas J. Vicchiariello has contributed not only to our department, but also our city throughout the many decades.”

Vicchiariello also serves as the City's OEM director and planning board chairman, in addition to other community service efforts that he and his family are involved in together.

“We only found it fitting for Tom, who endlessly works hard for our department by keeping our entire vehicle and marine fleet operational,” Cicalese said. “Tom has been serving in this position for the last two decades. We couldn't imagine where our department would be without him. At this point, Tom has saved the taxpayers in the millions on apparatus, marine and equipment repairs.”

The meeting was followed by the department’s annual Officers Appreciation Night, hosted each year on the first Monday in June. This year’s function was held at Howard Wheat Engine Co. #4 on Owen Street.

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.