Firefighter of the Year
Captain John J. Zboray
Captain John Zboray joined the Elsmere Fire Company on February 22, 1973 and became an active member on March 6 of that year.
The following letter was read by President Catalano at the NA Blanchard Post 1040 award ceremony...
March 5, 2012
Dear Commander Reidel,
The Recruitment and Retention committee admittedly has a tough job each year selecting the firefighter of the year. They have to choose from among 75 department members who all do great work. After going through their choices, the committee chair said to me “We have an excellent choice for this year’s firefighter of the year, and the committee voted unanimously for him”This year’s individual is a firefighter 24hours a day, seven days a week. Tomorrow marks his 39th anniversary as a firefighter with the Elsmere Fire Company. He has demonstrated his passion for the job through his positive attitude and his daily commitment to his company. He motivates those around him through his positive outlook and his ability to encourage optimism rather than cynicism. He is a professional who takes the job seriously while maintaining an ability to have fun and make someone smile. He demonstrates his passion for the job through his affirmative attitude, his daily commitment to the department, to his fraternal brothers and the citizens of Bethlehem. He is an experienced, hardworking professional who can be counted on to get the job done. He is also an individual that can build anything and fix things. From the finishing touches on our old members’ room to the garage he built behind the firehouse, this individual has amazed us with his skills and talents. He is passionate about the care and maintenance of the apparatus in his department. He has an incredible knowledge and understanding of the apparatus, particularly of Truck 30. When the Elsmere Fire Department took delivery of ladder Truck 30, he spent an extensive amount of time with the factory representative to learn about the new apparatus. To this day he remains the most knowledgeable on the specifications and operation of the vehicle. He continues to serve as the senior officer that new drivers need to pass muster with before being approved as a driver/operator. He also maintained our antique “dinky” for many years. Over the past two years, this individual has completely revamped our annual department driver requalification program which has yielded a 100 percent completion for all of our apparatus drivers.He has also made an impact at Elsmere through his own personal talents, time and effort. He has tremendous skills in both administration and cooking. In 1992, he co-chaired the combined 2004 Hudson Mohawk and Albany Count VFA conventions which included the ordering, preparation, and serving of three major dinners along with the food offered to the public for a three day event. He has made hundreds of meals for all of us at Elsmere. Most recently, he chaired the instillation ceremony dinner committee. When Jolly Olie Palmer said “Feed the Boy’s”, he took it seriously, and continues to keep us well fed at all times. This individual has served in both civil and fire line office; He has served in civil office as Vice President, and in the Fire Line Office as Lieutenant and Captain.As one of the original members of the Elsmere Wanderers, he is an individual that has touched every aspect of the Elsmere Fire Company. There isn’t a committee, function, organization or project that this individual hasn’t served on, and our fire company is a better place for it.This individual is active in the Town of Bethlehem Fire Officers Association, and active outside the fire department, as leader, past commander of the American Legion Son’s and most recently, past Commodore of the Ravena Coeymans Yacht club.This award is given to volunteer firefighters who not only perform admirably on the job, but also are heavily involved in their respective communities, and in that regard, John Zboray was the logical choice. His high level of maturity allows him to subordinate personal recognition and aspirations for the overall good of his fire company.People such as John are an inspiration for the future of our fire company. He possesses commitment and integrity, and takes his job very seriously. There is one thing that John is not good at, and that is being singled out and accepting praise or accolades for his actions. On behalf of the members of the Elsmere Fire Company, it is with great honor that we select (as one of Walt Whitman’s famous poems is entitled “Oh Captain my Captain”) Captain John Zbrory as this year’s firefighter of the year.
Joseph M. Catalano,
President, Elsmere Fire Company A Inc.
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