Senator Elaine Phillips recently hosted a First Responders Appreciation Night in Floral Park as part of her series of events honoring the brave men and women who risk their lives to protect residents of the 7th Senate District.
“Volunteer fire and EMS personnel are the backbone of our local Long Island communities and I truly believe we cannot thank them enough for all they do every day by risking their lives to keep our communities safe and to protect our loved ones,” said Phillips. “While no amount of thanks can express the appreciation we have for our first responders, or underscore the important role they play in our communities, events such as this provide an opportunity to recognize those that go above and beyond the call of duty.”
Honorees were members from the 1st Battalion fire district which included: the Bellerose Fire Department, Floral Park Fire Department, Floral Park Centre Fire Department, Mineola Fire Department, New Hyde Park Fire Department and the Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corp.
Michael Freitas and Thomas Capruso of the Mineola Fire Department were both honored during the First Responders Appreciation Night.
Freitas has been a member of Engine 3 since 1997 and for more than 20 years has held numerous company and line officer positions, becoming instrumental in helping to train hundreds of members. Freitas also supervises the department’s annual self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) qualification and requalification training for all members.
Capruso has been a member of Truck 2 since 2011. Capruso quickly became the local electrician for the firehouse and began assisting with all functions in and around the firehouse that required attention. He also became the lead training instructor for the department’s bail out ropes.
Chief Gregory M. Kozlowski and Jonathon Berardi of the Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corp. were also honored.
Kozlowski joined the Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corps in 2003 and was certified as an EMT in 2005. After leaving to serve in the U.S. Army, Kozlowski returned to the Corps in 2013 and was elected to the position of second assistant chief. He was later elected as the first assistant chief and is currently serving his second year in that role.
Berardi began his service with the Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corps as a member of the Explorer Post 703 when he was 16 years old. In 2004, he joined the department as an active member and became EMT certified when he was 18. Berardi remained an active member of the department until 2010 when he left to pursue nursing school, but returned to active duty in 2016 and was named second assistant chief. Berardi also provides guidance and mentorship through his active roles on the Training and QA/QI committees and prehospital care as an EMT-CC.
—Information provided by the office of Senator Elaine Phillips