The Manlius Fire Department honored Charles "Cha Cha" German for his 50 years of membership at a gala celebration held on Thursday June 14 at the Manlius Recreation Building on Stickley Drive. German attended his first fire meeting on June 14, 1957 at the fire station that is now the home of King & King Architects.
Event Chairman George Davenport and committee members Deputy Chief Paul Whorrall, and former chiefs Bob Henderson and Mac Heffernon planned and organized the evening affair.
Having served in the department as Sergeant-At-Arms, and as an interior and exterior firefighter, Davenport commended German for his tireless efforts and admirable demeanor throughout his years as a department member.
"While encountering serious medical problems many would consider a handicap, German continues to attend fire drills, monthly fire company meetings and is one of the most active participants and supporters of the parade schedule," Davenport wrote in a recent press release. "He always has a smile on his face, a kind word to say or will poke humor at someone when appropriate."
More than 70 guests paid tribute to German and his sister Pat for their unique and dedicated service to the fire department. For more than 30 years they have been giving children of firefighters dollar bills and lollypops before the annual Manlius parades. Several of the kids, now grown, were present to "return" the dollar.
Firefighter Richard Gesler, who was unable to attend the party, said Cha Cha demonstrates what being in the fire service is all about: Commitment, family and helping others.
Manlius Village Mayor Richard Penhall declared June 14, also Flag Day, as Charles German Day.
"He (German) exemplifies volunteerism," Penhall said. "He has been a village patriot and has supported the village cause for years."
Several other proclamations were made along with a citation from Governor Eliot Spitzer.
When Davenport recently sat with German to discuss his biography for the upcoming event, he posed a question to German whose response illustrates the man he is.
"Organizations have mascots and cheerleaders," Davenport said. "What are you within the department?"
"I guess I'm just a friend," German said.