Yates County rescuers recognize efforts

Gwen Chamberlain The Chronicle-Express
Members of the Dundee Fire Department Boat Rescue Team accepted the Fireman of the Year Award from Mike Alexander, of the Yates County Fire Chief’s Association (left), and former Penn Yan Chief Rick Simpson (center) for their work during the May 13, 2014 flood in Penn Yan. From left are: Alexander, Doug Miller, Tracey Miller, Simpson, Ray Miller, Dundee Chief Steve Warriner, and Deputy Chief Dave Bambey who nominated the team.

Nearly a year after the largest mobilization of Yates County emergency services volunteers, many gathered April 24 to recognize the effort that goes into being a well-trained and well-prepared rescuer at the Annual Yates County Emergency Responders Training Banquet.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano told the crowd the Yates County volunteers sent a clear message to everyone around the region. “Yates County sticks together,” he said, adding, “If it wasn’t for you, I don’t know what would have happened.”

The Dundee Fire Department Boat Rescue Team received the Yates County Fireman of the Year honor for their work during the height of the May 13, 2014 flooding in Penn Yan.

Introducing the award, former Penn Yan Fire Chief Rick Simpson said the team was called to help evacuate five people trapped by flood water in a two-story home on Champlin Avenue. The Dundee Fire Department had just taken delivery of the department’s new boat the day before. The inflatable craft was still in a crate when the call for help came. They hauled the crate to Penn Yan, where they assembled it and proceeded to Champlin Avenue, where they rescued the inhabitants of two apartments from the second floor of the flooded house.

Members of the team are Doug Miller, Tracey Miller, Ernest Martin, Richard Lee Fritz, Jeff Moore, Matthew Hooey, and Jeremy Belanger.

Sandy Bates, chief of the Branchport/Keuka Park Fire Department, presented the H. Robert Hathaway Officer of the Year Award to the family of the late Matthew Martin of Benton.

Each year, the Yates County Emergency Services Department recognizes the commitment area rescue volunteers make through their hours of training. In 2014, Yates County volunteers completed nearly 10,000 hours of training, according to Brian Winslow, director of emergency management.

Joseph Yankanich II of the Potter Fire Department was honored for completing the most individual fire training hours in 2014 with 242.

Jacob Banas was honored for completing 185 hours of individual EMS training.

Tabitha Haesche of Himrod received the award for completing the most combined fire and EMS training with 197 hours.