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Wrights Corners Fire Co. Holds Masquerade Installation and Makes History

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January 18, 2024 | NEW YORK Stephen M Wallace, Correspondent
This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

LOCKPORT, NY - Right from the start of the installation, you realized this was going to be a special night. Members and guests alike arrived in their “Ball Room” best. Those who were not sporting a mask were provided one off the front table that had a large variety of beautiful styles. Most stopped to get a photo by the Mardi Gras style background poster on the wall.  

The installation committee, Robert Bruckner, Kelly Simard, Roxanne Davis, Tanya Steinhardt, Kyle LaRuffa, Lauren Hunter, Zachary Wado, and Sherrie Campell, spent hundreds of hours planning and arranging to make sure this was going to be a night full of enjoyment, good food, and of course as they always say at Wrights Corners, “A Time to Party”. People mingled and caught up, but as soon as it was announced that salad and cocktails were available, it was time to get to the food tables. When Donna Eick is doing the cooking, there is no time for small talk, instead it's time to be loading up your plate. Niagara County Sheriff Michael Filicetti and Undersheriff Michael Dunn were right in line to fill their plates with “HEALTHY” salad, to show all present how it’s done.

Dinner was served immediately following the enjoyment of cocktails and salad. A meal that left no one wanting more, because it was so good you ate way too much. The ceremony began with the pledge; this is one department that will never forget that they are Americans, and proud of it!

Then there was a history-making moment during the memorial. Wrights Corners has always borrowed a memorial bell from a sister company, which they have been grateful for. After the Chaplin had a talk with the Chief during the course of this past year, an idea was brought to life; let's honor our members with our bell. So, with toll of the first remembrance, history was made as Wayne Jagow said; the first time a member was remembered with the Wrights Corner Memorial Bell.

New York State Senator Robert Ortt, and New York State Assembly member Michal Norris, both avid supporters of volunteer fire and EMS services, along with FASNY, were on hand for a special celebration. They both also explained how they lead the charge to fight for bills and money to help the volunteers, especially during the recent years of tough times in recruiting new members. 

Chief Jonathan “JJ COMMANDER KMG-365” McKnight gave his report. Another year of increase in calls, and decrease in active members. He made a special thank you to all the significant others in all members' families who put up with the countless hours of drills and calls. And a special thank you to his wife, Sarah, and daughter, and of course his dog Oscar also got some of the spotlight.

Member and Chaplin Jack Bridwell was called to the front. He was being honored for 40 active years of service. The State Senator was quick to point out that he was only 4-years-old when Jack started, and Assembly member Michael Norris explained he was a bit older, but only 7-years-old. They put that in prospective of the endless hours days and nights that Jack has been providing the answer for the call for help. The Town of Lockport Supervisor Mark Crocker did not reveal what his age was, but provided a heart-felt proclamation honoring Jack's service. 

Also sworn into office was President Michael J Norwood, VP Robert Brueckner, Treasurer Kelly Simard, Corresponding Secretary Bonieta Reid, Head Trustee Michael L Norwood, Trustee 2 Ryan Hnat, Trustee 3-year Jeffrey Seefeldt, Chaplain Jack Bridwell, Sergeant At Arms David weaver, Chief Jonathan McKnight, 1st Ryan Dickison, 2nd Wallace Linderman, 3rd Zachary Wodo, Master Mechanic Jeffery Lee, Fire Police Christopher Bruecknar, and Parade Marshal Michael J Norwood.

Ladies Auxiliary: President Sherrie Campbell, VP Tanya Steinhardt, Treasurer Cindy Horner, Recording Secretary Sarah McKnight, Corresponding Secretary Kathy Nizialek, 5-year Trustee Jill Pietkiewicz, 2nd year Susan Nizialek, 1st year Sharon Drew

Exempts (The true history of all companies): President Randy Roeseler, VP Paul Patterson, Treasurer Michael L Norwood, Secretary Susan Stegnar, Trustee 1 year Daniel Szumia, Trustee 2-year Robert Smith III, Trustee 3-Year Stephen Hunter, Sergeant At Arms Marty Roseler, Chaplin Wayne Jagow, Historian David Weaver, Stewart Kevin Hunter.

Along with the endless number of sworn-in Fire Police, years of service awards, and general thank yous, the night danced on to the music of DJ Beamin’ Sounds.

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Stephen M WallaceCorrespondent

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