When the owners of the Brookville Country Club rented the facility to the Locust Valley Fire Department for its annual inspection and installation of officers on May 19, they may not have known just how lively the evening would be. The volunteer department is known for throwing great parties when it acknowledges its members, who serve Locust Valley and the incorporated villages of Matinecock and Lattingtown and portions of Mill Neck. The department, which comprises six companies — three engine companies, one truck company, one heavy rescue and one emergency medical service unit — has been in existence since 1893.
This year’s dinner dance began on a somber note. Pasquale Eliseo, a department member for 66 years, died on May 13. Pat, as he was known, was 85. He had served as company captain, district fire commissioner and department treasurer, as well as treasurer of its emergency medical rescue squad. “Pat was someone who gave everything to our town,” said Ex-Chief Jeffrey Baker, the master of ceremonies, before the gathering joined in a moment of silence in Eliseo’s honor.
The department has more than 100 volunteers. They tend to stay on at the LVFD, evidenced by some who were listed in the program as celebrating service anniversaries. The member serving the longest, Iver Roslund, received an 80-year award. Ex-Chief John Suttie received a 60-year award, and Michael Bono, the department’s treasurer, and Jeffrey Converse were honored for 45 years of service.
“We want to thank the families of all of our members,” said Peter Olson, the chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners. “Family comes first, your job and then the Locust Valley Fire Department. When the siren sounds, your family may think that the Fire Department comes first, but they need to remember that we are responding to our neighbors in need.”
Kevin Barry was installed as the 56th chief of the department. When he spoke, he reiterated some of what Olson had said. “Neighbors helping neighbors, that’s what it’s all about,” Barry said. “We put our lives on hold to help our neighbors in need.”
Then he directed his comments to the younger members. “Pick the brains of the older firefighters, like Iver Roslund and the others,” Barry told them.
The officers who were installed were Kevin Barry, chief; Andrew Akapnitis, first assistant chief; James Neumeyer, second assistant chief; Ralph Longo, third assistant chief; Mathew Stimola, secretary; and Michael Bono, treasurer.
After the installation the evening turned celebratory, as the crowd hit the dance floor to the tunes provided by Spin Around Sound.