He’s a military veteran, a writer, a former village trustee and federal agent — not to mention a 55-year member of the Lynbrook Fire Department. Steve Grogan, an ex-captain and honorary chief of the department, has been named Lynbrook Firefighter of the Year by state Elks Lodge No. 1.
“It sure as hell doesn’t feel like I’m in 55 years,” Grogan, 74, said with a laugh. “Maybe 20 years, but it’s hard to believe it’s 55 years. I certainly don’t feel that time or feel that age.”
“I continue to enjoy the work,” he added. “I’m still involved. I’m still making my calls.”
Grogan joined the department at age 19, inspired by a firefighter who lived down the block. His interest grew as he watched his neighbor dash out the front door whenever sirens sounded.
Grogan said he always felt a call to service. “Just volunteering for my community,” he said. “I just felt it was something I have to do, I did do, and I will continue to do. I’m just hoping that we can make a better community — we can keep that community safer.”
During the Vietnam War, Grogan served on active duty for five years with Army Intelligence. These days he represents firefighters on the county Veterans Advisory Committee; is an active member of Lynbrook American Legion Post 335; and is the vice chair of the Nassau County Firefighters Operation Wounded Warrior, which works to improve the lives of men and women who were wounded during their military service.
Grogan loves Wounded Warriors, he said, because it gives him a chance to combine his passion for the fire service with his drive to help veterans.
“Me being there, but (I) was not in a war zone and did not get injured,” he said of Vietnam, “I feel I especially owe something to the wounded. That’s something that I have to do. I feel that closeness to them because I am a veteran, and I’m one of the lucky ones.”
Grogan has been a driving force in developing and maintaining the relationships among county fire departments — particularly Lynbrook — and local veterans. On Friday, members of the Lynbrook F.D. are scheduled to travel to Virginia to bring Christmas presents to the soldier recovery unit at Fort Belvoir, marking the 20th year that Grogan and his fellow firefighters have helped wounded veterans and their families during the holiday season.
“This is a community,” Grogan said of the Lynbrook department. “This is now something else they do — they’re willing to help support our soldiers who were wounded.”
For his efforts, Grogan was named Nassau county’s Legionnaire of the Year in 2021 and Long Island’s Legionnaire of the Year in 2022, and was inducted into the state Veterans Hall of Honor in 2020.
When he wasn’t on active duty in the military or putting out fires, he was investigating crimes and corruption as a federal agent in the Justice Department, his career for 35 years until he made the move to private security.
Grogan was also a Lynbrook village trustee in the 1980s, and the village public relations officer. Wearing these many hats has, to him, served largely the same purpose — doing what he can to help others.
“I guess it’s all part of it,” he said. “The way I feel, it’s just a commitment that I’m willing to make, and I enjoyed.”
He has been the public information officer and resident writer for the Fire Department for more than 40 years, and does the same for the county’s Fourth Battalion. He is a regular contributor to the Herald and to Volunteer Firefighter magazine.
“I enjoy writing — I enjoy telling a story,” he said. “I enjoy the research of coming up with something that I didn’t even know, and I’d like to share it.”
It’s important to Grogan that firefighters’ stories are told, and that readers learn about who they are as people. Through his writing, he remains an active and integral member of the department.
He isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon. “I’ve enjoyed it all, and that’s why I continue,” he said. “I’m not ready to give it up, even with 55 years. I still have something to offer for this Fire Department. I will continue.”