After 35 years of centering an annual recognition of fire and ambulance volunteers around a large public banquet, the Canastota Area Association of Churches which sponsored the event, announced changes for 2016 and the foreseeable future.
According to Scott Trefz, retiring as Dinner Chairman after five years leadership, and Association President, Pastor David Allen, this became necessary when no replacement could be found to head up the event.
“The Association of Churches believes in the value of these men and women and the work they do- it deserves an expression of thanks,” Trefz stated, “but changing times necessitates a change in direction.”In a vote of the CAAC Board January 20,
In a vote of the CAAC Board January 20, a recognition grant of $500 will be made to each of the four Canastota area volunteer companies, the Canastota VFD, Wampsville VFD, and Lincoln VFD, as well as the Greater Lenox Ambulance Service.“Each volunteer organization can use the funds for equipment, training, or any other purpose they deem important,” Pastor Allen elaborated.
“Each volunteer organization can use the funds for equipment, training, or any other purpose they deem important,” Allen said.
The money for this year’s grant came from a special reserve fund left over from past years’ fundraising and earmarked exclusively for volunteer recognition. The CAAC plans a letter campaign soon to raise funds to continue the awards beyond the reserve’s expected exhaustion in 2017-18.
The tradition of monetary grants began at last year’s 35th annual recognition dinner and was initially named the Dorothy Ball Memorial Award, in honor of the long-time CAAC Treasurer and noted Canastota church woman who passed away last year.
Going forward, the grants will be called the Canastota Volunteer First Responders Awards. If public response is strong, and a new chairman is identified, the CAAC Board acknowledges the possibility that a dinner or similar recognition could return.