George Reisdorf’s career as a fireman began reminiscent of the theme song from “Gilligan’s Island”…"Not a single luxury -- like Robinson Crusoe, it was primitive as can be." No radios, and the fire apparatus was minimal. Over the course of seven decades, he was a part of the many changes that make the Strykersville Fire Company what it is today.
Reisdorf was honored at the recently held Strykersville Fire Company’s Installation Dinner.
Reisdorf joined the company in 1947, at a time when names were drawn to become a volunteer fireman and fires were put out via a bucket brigade. Currently, members spend approximately 40 to 50 hours of training – the basic firefighter course – needed to enter a burning structure.
He served as chief from 1956 to 1959 and assistant chief in 1969. When the Rescue Squad was established in 1956, Reisdorf played a major role. He was also instrumental in getting Strykersville its first ambulance.
In 2016, the Rescue Squad answered 145 calls involving accidents, traumatic injuries, and people who were “experiencing chest pain.” The crew comprises of one certified fire responder, 10 emergency medical technicians (EMT), and one advanced EMT, says Liz Marks, Strykersville squad lieutenant. Additionally, new recruit John Green not only earned his EMT certification in May, by November he had responded on more than one third of the total calls.
“Green was on a call in July 2015,” said Squad Captain Crystal Radecki. “What started out as a simple house call, quickly turned into so much more. While on a call, the wife of our patient backed over one of our EMTS with her vehicle. Green kept his cool and instructed the lady to pull the car off the EMT, as soon as she was clear, he went into action.”
The injured EMTS happened to be Radecki’s fiance and “only ended up with” minor injuries.
Not only has Reisdorf seen the company grow in membership and services, he saw firsthand the advancement of telecommunications as it pertained to the fire service. It went from a push-button in the home to the present-day 9-1-1 service.
While his “active” fire fighting days are over, Reisdorf continues to be active with the company by attending meetings and assisting with fundraisers.
The Strykersville Fire Company continues to serve the community and in 2016 responded to a total of 182 alarms, says fire chief Brian Ash. Of those calls, 15 were for residential structure fires, one reported explosion, two appliance fires, three barn fires, one chimney fire, six vehicle fires, six grass and brush fires, 23 car accidents, six hazardous conditions, one good intent call, and four false alarms.
The fire company also provides, and receives, mutual aid from its neighboring departments. In 2016, it provided aid 37 times and received aid 15.
In addition to answering calls, members participated in 128 drill nights which included fire and rescue training, first aid, and monthly truck checks, 98 nights of Office of Fire Prevention and Control classes, and 59 events that dealt with meetings, work details and fundraisers…and the company continues to grow.
In 2016, Strykersville added six new members – Robert Green, Andrew Gruber, Sara Neudeck, Zach Neudeck, Jennifer Reisdorf, and Alexandria Speyer. It also celebrated milestones and honored several members.
• Service Awards: 15 years -- Charles Wertz and Timothy Shaw; 30 years -- Bob Lawson; 45 years -- Mike Reisdorf and Fred Lee; and 70 years -- George Reisdorf.
In addition to honoring Green as EMS Provider of the Year, others honored include:
• Carol Shaw received Firefighter of the Year;
• Rookie of the Year went to Zach Neudeck;
• President's Award went to Charlie Wertz;
• Stan Szumigala, Eric Kirsch, and Randy Reisdorf received Training certificates;
• Out-going Officers awards went to Past Rescue Squad Captain Liz Marks; and
• Chairman Certificates went to Lynn Streicher for her efforts with the installation dinner, Liz Marks with the fund drive, Doug Dombrowski with the gun raffle, and Carol and Tim Shaw with the picnic.
Newly installed officers include:
• Doug Schwab, president;
• Donald Simons, vice president;
• Mary Gibson, secretary;
• Russell Reisdorf, treasurer;
• Jeffrey Kinney, Robert Conroy and Duane Reisdorf, directors;
• Brian Ash, chief;
• Stanley Szumigala, first assistant chief;
• Eric Kirsch, second assistant chief;
• Randy Reisdorf, third assistant chief;
• Crystal Radecki, squad captain;
• Liz Marks, squad lieutenant; and
• William Streicher, squad secretary.