Gary Mazur Receives TOH Firematic Award
On Thursday October 18th, 2007 the Mineola Fire Department responded to the Town of Hempstead Town Hall. This was not for an emergency but rather for the momentous occasion of the2007 Town of Hempstead Firematic awards. This year’s recipient was Mineola Fire Department Ex-Chief Gary V. Mazur. Gary’s career in the fire service has spanned 30 years and in that time he has had a positive impact on everyone he has helped. The Mineola Fire Department was honored to submit Gary for this much deserved award.
In 1976 Gary V. Mazur joined engine Company #3 of the Mineola Fire Department. Over the last 30 years, his devotion to the members of his company allowed him to rise through the ranks of Lieutenant and he was elected by his peers to serve as captain of the Company. Gary took on the task with a diligence to duty and a positive attitude that earned him the respect of all the members of the department. He continued to serve in the Chiefs office as an assistant Chief and subsequently Chief of Department from 1995-1997. He was called upon to coordinate the firefighting efforts of three companies, totaling over 100 firefighters as well as support staff such as Ladies Auxiliary and Junior Firefighters. When a Chief’s term comes to an end, many return to the ranks with the ability to rest on their laurels as an Ex-Chief. Gary sought to continue with further service to the community.
During his tenure in the department he witnessed the importance of the Junior Fire Department in the recruitment of new firefighters. Gary became actively involved in increasing the activities of this youth organization. As a Head Advisor of the Junior Fire Department, Gary spearheaded a recruitment campaign which bolstered the ranks to an unprecedented 40 young adults. These junior firefighters receive training in basic firefighting and the structure of the Volunteer fire service. Equally important is the spirit of volunteerism and community service that each youth has instilled in them. Throughout the year Gary schedules and coordinates events that allow our juniors to become involved in their community.
In February, he creates the Annual Pasta Dinner. This event brings the members of the community together during the coldest days of winter to sit down to a meal and encounter the warmth of our village. This afternoon is especially popular with our senior citizens as well as the young families in our neighborhood. As a reward for their hard work Gary takes time away from his own family to lead the juniors on a winter snow tubing trip. When summer rolls around Gary loads up the bus and drives our juniors all over the state for exciting and informative trips. Stops usually include the Lake George region were our juniors enjoy several days of summer recreation. For many of our juniors this is the only summer vacation they are able to afford. Come the fall Gary calls the juniors out once again to participate in the Village’s Annual Halloween party. This effort is the culmination of months of work and results in a safe night out for the children in our area. This party is complete with spook houses, an elaborate stage display and Gary himself dress to scare!
The end of the year means Santa is on his way. Gary has been coordinating the fire departments Operation Santa for years. This rewarding activity brings Santa and his helpers atop one of Mineola’s Fire Trucks to the homes of hundreds of children. It takes countless hours of phone calls and scheduling to make sure no one is left out. This effort has repeatedly earned him his nickname “Amazin Maze” as he coordinates three Santa’s three frosty the Snow man, a host of elves and a few Dalmatian’s as they crisscross the village spreading holiday cheer. As he puts it, “I have to schedule things just like a doctor schedules his patients”. When he is not coordinating “Santa’s run”, Gary also lends a hand working with the juniors on the annual Christmas tree lighting.
This year the Mineola Junior Fire Department took on the unprecedented task of forming a partnership with the FF-STELLINGEN-HAMBURG JUGENDFEUERWEHR, a German Youth Fire Brigade. This partnership culminated in the 10 day visit to Mineola of a group of youths from the Hamburg, Germany youth fire brigade along with their advisors and the Chief of their Department in July of this year. Ex-Chief Mazur planned and executed this historic exchange between the two fire service organizations. Never before has American and European youth firefighting organizations established such an international partnership that lead to this cultural and firematic exchange. Gary worked tirelessly with the other advisors to create an unforgettable experience for our German guests. He met them at the airport, lead them on sightseeing in our area and even incorporated these youths into the Mineola Juniors annual summer trip to Lake George.
The Mineola and German youths also participated in firematic training, discussed cultural differences and similarities and made life long friends during this exchange. Ex-Chief Mazur in now actively involved in planning, fund raising and preparing to take a group of Mineola Junior firefighters over to Hamburg, Germany next August to complete the exchange.
It is not difficult to see how Gary’s work has benefited our neighborhood. The majority of our juniors move up to join the ranks of our fire department. As products of the Mineola Junior fire department they bring wit them the training and values learned in the juniors program. The result is a firefighter who can be called an asset to our village. Gary’s devotion to the preservation of a close-knit community that cares for its people is evident in all of the work that he does. He makes time for everyone in between his two jobs, one as a Court Officer and the other at a local restaurant. Gary also finds time for his family including his wife Josephine, a member of the Mineola Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary and his son’s Robby and John.
Gary Mazur’s civic efforts have been repeatedly recognized by the Mineola Chamber of Commerce, the Mineola Republican Club and the Mineola-Garden City Rotary Club. All have bestowed Community Service awards upon him. The New York State Court System has also recognized Gary for his efforts awarding him with the 2001 Merit Performance Award for outstanding service to the community. The Mineola Fire department is proud to announce ex-Chief Gary Mazur as the recipient of the 2007 Town of Hempstead Firematic award.