Junior firefighters provide big lift to Fly Creek department

Junior firefighters provide big
lift to Fly Creek department

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Fly Creek Fire Department members, from left, Lt. Eric Deysenroth, Connor Voulo, Troy Hight and Wayton Cassell pose Monday, May 17, in Fly Creek. (Kevin Limiti/AllOTSEGO.com)

FLY CREEK — The Fly Creek Volunteer Fire Department is creating and nurturing future firefighters with its junior firefighter program and four young men have already reaped the benefits while serving their community.

Three junior firefighters including Troy Hight, 18, Wayton Cassell, 14, and Connor Voulo, 17, have all been training as Fly Creek firefighters.

“I’m sort of an outcast in school,” Hight said. He said he was referring to his feelings about high school course work, but he found a home with the fire department. His father encouraged him to join, calling it an “amazing experience.”

“It’s a really big family,” Hight said.

Cassell said he was introduced to the fire department by a friend and is considering as a career in firefighting either in California or New York City.

Voulo said he has been around the fire department his entire life. He was recently honored with the FASNY Gerald J. Buckenmeyer scholarship award for, according to the website, “exemplary members of the youth fire service who also contribute to their communities.”

However, he downplayed receiving the award saying he “put in a lot time, but it’s not really about that.”

According to Chief Chris Voulo, Connor’s father, a lot of firefighters get involved with the department because of family.

Still, the department is alway in need of new people, he said.

“A lot of young kids, stay for awhile and then go off to college,” Chief Voulo said.

The junior fire department is helping to bring new blood into the department and help fill in the gaps that older firefighters are leaving behind, he said.

One person who has benefitted from the junior firefighter program especially has been Eric Deysenroth, a 2019 Cooperstown Central School graduate who has recently made lieutenant and is going to school at Onondaga Community College for fire science.

“It’s fun. It’s a good way to get involved in the community,” Deysenroth said.

The junior firefighters serve in a support role during fire calls, assisting the senior firefighters in their duties. They attend all trainings with the entire fire crew.

Their duties include changing air bottles, supplying equipment to firefighters, and handling exterior hoses. They attend training drills and go on ambulance runs.

The program is open for people ages 14 to 18.

The junior firefighters acknowledged that some of things they see in the line of duty could be difficult. “You’re gonna see some stuff in this business that you don’t want to, but it is what it is,” Deysenroth said.

There is definitely a lack of people volunteering for the fire department. Chief Voulo said that programs like the junior firefighters are vital for that very reason. He said he wished more fire departments had programs like this.

“It has to start somewhere,” Chief Voulo said. “They are the future because a lot of us, we are getting older.”

The junior firefighter program is a “real worthy part of the fire department,” he said.


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