Canastota Volunteer Recognition Program winds-up second year

CAAC President Pastor Dave Allen presents this year’s grant to Wampsville VFD Chief Monty Collucci with firemen and Wampsville’s new super-pumper in the background.

Grant checks were recently distributed to the four volunteer first-responder organizations that serve greater Canastota and were received with enthusiastic appreciation by the officers of those companies.

Following 35 years of recognizing fire and ambulance volunteers with a large public banquet, the Canastota Area Association of Churches – the event’s sponsor – evolved the program in 2016 to keep up with changing times.

In a vote of the CAAC Board last year, annual “Canastota Volunteer First Responders Award” grants of $500 were established for each of the four Canastota area volunteer companies: the Canastota VFD, Wampsville VFD, Lincoln VFD and the Greater Lenox Ambulance Service.

The money for these grants came from a special reserve fund left over from past years’ fundraising, earmarked exclusively for volunteer recognition.

“Each volunteer organization can use the funds for equipment, training, or any other purpose they deem important,” CAAC President Pastor Dave Allen explains. At each presentation, CAAC representatives also took time to pray for the safety and effectiveness of those volunteers as they go about their lifesaving duties.

“The Association of Churches believes in the value of these men and women and the work they do; it deserves an expression of thanks,” Recognition Chairman Scott Trefz stated, “but changing times dictated this change in direction. We voted this year to renew fundraising among past contributors, and we were gratified by the response in contributions. Donation levels allowed us to extend the program another year through 2021, while also increasing the grants by 10 percent to $550 per organization.”

Fundraising for the 2018 grants will begin again in February of that year, with grants distributed in late April. Individuals and organizations interested in supporting this program can contact Trefz by mail at 2743 Perryville Road, Canastota, or by leaving a message at 315.655.9742.

The CAAC Board is open to the possibility that a dinner or similar recognition could return, should there be sufficient interest and support going forward.

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