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Caz: Not only about running into buildings

Not only about running into buildings

Caz firefighter secures almost half a million dollars in grant money

By Willie Kiernan

republican@cnylink.com

The siren can go off anytime, day or night, and Cazenovia has volunteers that assemble to save someone's house or life.

"People don't understand the commitment these men and women have to their community," said Gene Gissin, fire photographer and member of the auxiliary.

The modern fireman is special because he commits himself to a public service, he faces unpleasant and dangerous tasks in order to alleviate and minimize the distress and discomfort to which his community is subjected and he readily accepts the discipline so vital to his calling.

Then there's grant writing.

At the Cazenovia Fire Department's annual banquet, which was held on Feb. 1, the Chief Award was presented to Gil Hodges, a member of the Cazenovia Hook and Ladder Company since 1998. In the past four years, Hodges has been instrumental in the department receiving FEMA grants to offset many operating and equipment costs.

Gil Hodges has done a superb job and is to be commended as a volunteer, researching, writing and securing grants for the Cazenovia Fire Department," said Paul Brooks, Cazenovia Village Trustee and Fire Commissioner. "When all is said and done, he'll have saved the village hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Since 2005, Hodges has accounted for more than $440,000 in grant money coming to Cazenovia for various equipment needs. Last year alone, he secured $261,250 to go toward the purchase of a new fire engine that the village board had already approved purchase of for $425,000, thus reducing village taxpayer outlay by $271,000, the amount of the grant. The new vehicle will displace a nearly 30-year-old American LaFrance Engine.

"We're just trying to come up with other ways to supplement the budget," Hodges said.

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