October 13th - The Hamden Fire Retirees Association held its 51st meeting yesterday afternoon at the Elks Hall, with 20+ members in attendance. The entire slate was re-elected for another two-year tterm. Jim Leddy was re-elected to another six-year term as Trustee. There being no prospective candidates for Secretary in attendance, the Secretary agreed to another term with the understanding that all of his ancillary duties not spelled out in the by-laws, like meeting planning and preparation, be handled by other individuals.
Minutes will be available soon, with a link to be posted later.
Four of our recently deceased members, Supt. Richard Lostritto, Ff. John O'Hare, Ff. Ray Dobbs, and Ff. Guy White, were honored with memorial plaques that were presented to their families. Honorary Membership was voted to Rita O'Hare and Carolyn White, whose husbands had passed away since the July meeting.
Honorary Membership was previous voted to Marge Lostritto and Niki Dobbs at the July meeting, and all four of the new Honorary Members were formally inducted into the HFRA at when memorial plaques were presented to their families.
All photos, except the two inset photos, may be enlarged by clicking on the images.
Seated (L-R): Dave Strawhince, Ralph Tortora, Bob Viglione, Paul "Froggy" Frodel, Bob Mordecai, Bill Fitzmaurice, and Mike Murray. Standing (L-R): Harold Mangler, Jim Leddy, Dave Johnson, Dave Berardesca, Don Buechele, Jim Koutsopolos, Acting Chief Jeff Naples, Jeff Pechmann, Austin Williams, and Chick Manware. (Some members arrived a little later.) - Thanks to Janet Tragianese for snapping this photo.
Acting Chief Jeffrey Naples
Acting Chief Jeffrey Naples was invited to share some of his thoughts with the group. He thanked the Association and said he was honored to be attending on behalf of the entire department.
"Today's ceremony," he remarked, "is a beautiful way to pay respect to our fallen brothers and to honor their years of service to the Town of Hamden." Mentioning each honoree by name, he noted that he did not personally have the opportunity to work with any of them, but assured everyone that their names still resonate around the kitchen table.
The Chief also noted the sacrifices that firefighters' families endure due to the working schedules that frequently interfere with kids' sporting events, birthday parties, and important holidays, as well as the ever-present dangers facing firefighters that are an ongoing cause of worry to family members. "So, thank you to all the family members of our deceased members," he concluded, "for sharing your loved ones and supporting them through their careers. My deepest condolences to the families and comfort in your losses."
Lostritto Table (L-R): Jeff Pechmann, Richie's great nephew; Marge Lostritto; Paul Frodel, husband of Judy, Richie's niece; Joyce and Jim Koutsopolos. Jim was Richie's nephew.
Dobbs Table (L-R): Janet Tragianese, Ray's niece; Joan Sotere, friend of the family; and Niki Dobbs
O'Hare Table: Seated are Rita O'Hare and John's daughter Joan Roach. Standing are grandson Jonathan Firth, HFRA President Bob Mordecai, friend and presenter Austin "Augie" Williams, and son-in-law Tom Roach.
With Lostritto family members looking on, HFRA Historian Dave Johnson presented Marge Lostritto with her husband's memorial plaque.
HFRA President Bob Mordecai presented Niki Dobbs with her husband Ray's memorial plaque.
Guy White's widow, Carolyn, and their two children, Denise White and Guy White III, all live in Florida and, quite understandably, were unable to attend. Guy's plaque will be mailed to his family.
Guy White's memorial plaque was accepted on behalf of his family by HFRA Historian Dave Johnson, with whom he worked in the late 1970s.
Johnson noted White's enthusiasm for the job and how he regretted having to leave it for one in the insurance industry that paid significantly better. Raising a young family during those runaway inflation days was an expensive proposition when the job paid in the low to mid-teens.