‘Moose’ means Malverne

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DePoto has donned numerous firefighter’s caps on both a county- and statewide level, serving as president of the South Shore Fire Department Association, secretary of the Southern New York Firefighters’ Association, treasurer of the Nassau County Drill Team Captains’ Association, chairman of the Nassau County Ceremonial Unit, delegate to the Firemen’s Association of New York State and the Nassau County Firemen’s Association, and secretary and honorary president of both the Southern New York Volunteer Fire Department and the Fire Chiefs Council of Nassau County. He pushed for elected officials to help local departments obtain more advanced equipment, and acquired one of the first Hearse tools — otherwise known as the “jaws of life” — and a rescue truck for the Malverne department.

Though he stepped down as chief in 1984, dePoto founded and commanded the department’s Emergency Relief Squad, a team of 10 firefighters who train for emergency situations, and its Fire Police Unit, which secures the area and equipment around a fire. He also launched the Fire Service Award Program — which helps recruit new members by providing a small pension for their years of service — and, in 1986, Malverne’s Junior Fire Department, which trains 13- to 17-year-old boys (including ex-chief Richie Lang Jr.) to become firefighters by teaching them basic drills and procedures.

DePoto said he has cherished one thing while serving his community over the years: “Once you’re a chief,” he said, “you’re always a chief.”

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