At the March 5, 2009 Department Meeting Mineola Fire Department Chief Scott Holliday announced that Firefighter Stephen Stolarik Sr. had been unanimously voted to receive the title of Honorary Chief of Department. This award is reserved for those persons who have given tirelessly of themselves to benefit the Department.
Steve joined the Mineola Fire Department on January 19, 1972. At the age of 40, Steve was working for the Telephone company and raising his family. The Stolarik's had moved to Mineola in 1965 and Steve recognized the importance of volunteer service and chose to make the time to give back to his community.
Service has been a hallmark in Steve's life. He served in the United States Marine Corps for over 30 years. He continued to serve his country with an additional tour of 15 years in the Fleet Reserve. Steve ended his Military career as a Master Sergeant with over 45 years of service. Undoubtedly, it was this dedication to duty, honor and country which would bring Steve to serve his local community.
The members of Truck Company Two were quick to recognize the value of Steve's military background. He was elected to the position of Sergeant at Arms in 1972 and continues to hold this position today. His historic reign coupled with his Marine Corps rank has earned him the name "Sarge" throughout the department.
In 1974, Sarge was assigned to coordinate the Department Color guard. For the past 30 years, he has been responsible for the proper decorum in flag ceremonies and maintaining cadence in all of the department's uniform affairs. He was also entrusted to chair the Departments Fund drive, blood bank and sick committees.
Steve also recognized the importance of providing guidance for the youth of our community. With this in mind, Steve became a senior advisor to the Mineola Junior Fire Department, helping to direct young adults to join the department. One of these future firefighters was his own son Steven Jr. who went on to become a firefighter in Engine Company Three. Steven Jr. would ultimately follow in his father's footsteps, becoming an advisor to the junior's and carrying on the tradition of service. In 2008, Sarge's Granddaughter Lucia also joined Engine Three to continue the family tradition of service.
In 1981 Truck Two awarded Steve with the Firefighter of the year award. This would be the first of many honors for Sarge. In 1986 he was bestowed with the department's highest award when he was selected as Department Firefighter of the year. In 2000, the officers of Truck Two again selected Steve as the Firefighter of the year for outstanding company activity. The Mineola Fire Department proudly submitted Steve to receive the 2005 Town of Hempstead Firematic Award.
The Workhorse Company celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2007. At the centennial dinner, the Officers announced that Truck Two would bestow its highest honor upon Steve by appointing him Honorary Captain.
In addition to Steven Jr., Steve and his wife Angie were blessed with two daughters and 6 grandchildren. Not to be out done, Angie is also a member of the MFD Ladies Auxiliary and she was recently selected to receive the Lady of the Year award.
"Sarge can fix it". - is a phrase often heard in our firehouse. He is legendary for his telephone and radio installations. Steve can often be found carrying his signature Tool kit which includes many instruments he has fabricated himself. His knowledge of electrical wiring and his diligent work ethic saves the department countless dollars in repairs.
After serving 35 years in the Telephone Company, 6 years with the Village of Mineola and of course his military career, Steve has "retired" a few times. For Steve, retirement has allowed him to continue his passion for serving the community. At 76 years of age, Steve continues to gear up and respond to alarms at all hours of the day and night. He regularly provides instruction at fire prevention lectures in the local schools. His dedication to service is an inspiration for all of our firefighters. The Mineola Fire Department is now proud to recognize Steve an Honorary Chief. Some may call him "Chief" now but he will forever be "Sarge" in our hearts.