Surrounded by family members, members of his department, and over 150 guests, James Mahoney of the Northport (N.Y.) Volunteer Fire Department was recognized for his distinguished career in the volunteer fire service by receiving the NVFC Firefighter of the Year Award. The prestigious award was presented on Sept. 13 in conjunction with NVFC's Fall 2002 meeting in Sitka, Alaska and is sponsored by Scott Health & Safety.
The NVFC awards those individuals whose outstanding achievements in the fire service and community provides examples of exemplary performance. This prestigious award is one of only two awards that the Council bestows. Nominated by their peers, the recipients are awarded a trophy and a place in history with the NVFC.
Jim Mahoney’s service with the Northport Volunteer Fire Department began in 1973. In only five years he was elected Captain of the department’s rescue squad and held that position a total of three terms. For the past 28 years Jim has been the Chairman of the Fire Prevention Education Committee for the fire department. Through the Fire Prevention Education Program, Jim has enlightened approximately 35,000 children to the hazards of fire and the importance of fire prevention. In addition, many of the officers in the fire department today were introduced to the fire service by Jim when they were in school. Jim has written a column in the local newspaper for the last six years entitled “Safety News.”
Jim has also developed programs for senior citizens and preschool-aged children. The highly successful Meet Your Friend the Firefighter Program has been running now for six years. It has been very successful at area nursing homes and the town’s senior citizens center. In addition to these programs, Jim has organized Memorial Day and Pearl Harbor day presentations, taught babysitting classes, organized Fire Safety Poster contests, blood drives, and American Legion Fundraisers.
Jim is also a volunteer committee member of the Suffolk County Firefighters Burn Center. A member of the Steering Committee since 1986, he was elected president in 2000 and presently holds that position. Jim and his wife, Sophie, have run the Burn Center’s annual fundraiser for the past 14 years and together they have raised over $150,000.
In a letter of endorsement for Jim, United States Congressman Gary L. Ackerman had this to say: “When you bestow such a prestigious award I am sure you are concerned about the character, dedication and integrity of the recipient. Jim Mahoney rates highly in all these areas. He is simply the best. He has contributed much to the community where he was raised and has lived most of his life. He has enriched Northport Village and its environment. He has brought distinction to the Northport Fire Department.”
Jim Mahoney’s dedication and leadership have earned him the respect of his colleagues and he should serve as a model to firefighters everywhere.
Nominations for the 2003 NVFC Firefighter of the Year Award must be received by Aug. 1, 2003. For more information, contact the NVFC at 1-888-ASK-NVFC or go to www.nvfc.org .