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Posted on: November 8, 2018

Neuhaus hosts inaugural Meritorious Service Awards reception

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Goshen, N.Y. - Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus proudly hosted the inaugural Meritorious Service Awards reception on Wednesday, November 7th at the Graham Skea Lodge at Stony Ford Golf Course in Montgomery.

Awards were presented in the following categories: Police, Fire, Emergency and Military Service.

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“Orange County has a rich tradition of public service and volunteerism,” Neuhaus said. “This event provided an opportunity to honor our first responders who work hard every day to keep the County safe. The awards recognized individuals that exemplify dedication and selflessness for the greater good of our communities. Our first responders and military personnel deserve this recognition and I look forward to making the reception an annual event.”

The 2018 Meritorious Service Award recipients were:

City of Newburgh Fire Department: Recognized for its heroic efforts in responding to the Verla International fire in November of last year. One man was killed and several employees were injured after two explosions and a fire tore through the cosmetics factory. Several firefighters were also trapped and/or missing immediately after the explosion. Eight City of Newburgh firefighters were injured responding to the fire.

Asst. Chief Bradley Sukeena, Orange Lake Fire Department and Lt. David Kramer, Winona Lake Fire Department: Sukeena and Kramer acted heroically in removing two trapped victims, who ultimately succumbed to their injuries, at a fire on Coach Lane in the Town of Newburgh on November 24th, 2017. Both firefighters disregarded their personal safety when they entered the residence, under heavy fire conditions, to remove the occupants.

Cronomer Valley Fire Department: Recognized for outstanding actions by their members in the extrication of a trapped individual at a motor vehicle accident that occurred on the New York State Thruway on May 14th, 2018. The incident involved two tractor trailers which had collided and resulted in an extremely complex technical rescue.

Port Jervis Volunteer Ambulance Corps: Recognized for the caring and professional manner in which it has cared for the residents of the City of Port Jervis and the Town of Deerpark for over 60 years.

Captain Ben Conques, Woodbury Community Ambulance Corps.: Conques was recognized for his 36-plus years of dedicated service during which he has handled more than 5,000 EMS calls.

Sgt. Robert McCann and Officers Michael Graziano, Anthony Altero and Joel Hahn, Town of Blooming Grove Police Department: With the assistance of the New York State Police, the group apprehended a man who had just shot and killed his brother in Mountain Lodge Park on February 6th of this year. The suspect was charged with second-degree murder.

Senior Investigator Yan Salomon and Investigator Joseph Lofrese, State Police: The investigators’ exhaustive efforts helped apprehend the 18-year-old man who vandalized the Temple Beth Shalom cemetery in Warwick with anti-Semitic graffiti in October 2016.

Goshen Police Officer Brian Kelly: The calm, quick-thinking of Kelly in July of this year helped save the lives of an elderly couple before their car burst into flames on Route 17 East in Goshen. He was off-duty at the time of the incident.

Master Sergeant Sara Pastorello, New York Air National Guard, 105th Air Wing, New York Stewart International Airport: Provided sensitive public affairs support and closely advised the U.S. Marines for more than two months after the KC-130T Hercules crash in Mississippi last July. Fifteen U.S. Marines, including nine stationed at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, and a U.S. Navy sailor were killed in the accident. For her efforts, Pastorello was also awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal.

“The men and women who commit their lives to public service as first responders don’t do it for awards or accolades, they do it because they have answered a call to serve their communities,” said Orange County Commissioner of Emergency Services Brendan Casey, a 30-year State Police veteran. “That said, it is always an honor to recognize exemplary service. I applaud County Executive Neuhaus and his staff for honoring these men and women. Their hard work and dedication make our County a safer and better place to live and work.”

For more information, contact Justin Rodriguez, Assistant to the County Executive for Communications and Media Relations at 845.291.3255 or [email protected].

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