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CAVAC honors Cazenovia Fire and Rescue with President’s Award

Close to 200 people attend CAVAC’s 40th annual dinner

CAVAC President Greg Widrick, left, awarded the CAVAC President’s Award to the members of the Cazenovia Fire and Rescue during CAVAC's 40th annual banquet last week. The award was accepted for the fire department by Second Assistant Chief Jay Kelchner, middle, and Second Lieutenant Mike Wood.

CAVAC President Greg Widrick, left, awarded the CAVAC President’s Award to the members of the Cazenovia Fire and Rescue during CAVAC's 40th annual banquet last week. The award was accepted for the fire department by Second Assistant Chief Jay Kelchner, middle, and Second Lieutenant Mike Wood. Photo by Jason Emerson.

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CAVAC charter members Ann Marshall was given the Life Member Award at the organization's 40th annual banquet last week. She posed for photos with her family.

— After recounting the harrowing — and simultaneously miraculous — rescue of 10-year-old Charlie Thompson after he fell down a well last October, and the “amazing” and inspiring efforts of Cazenovia Fire and Rescue crews at the scene, Cazenovia Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps (CAVAC) President Greg Widrick awarded the CAVAC President’s Award to the members of the Cazenovia Fire and Rescue.

“The Charlie Thompson call was a very difficult call for all of us … and what the Cazenovia fire department did there that night was nothing short of miraculous, if not divine,” Widrick said during CAVAC’s 40th annual meeting last Saturday, March 15. “They don’t always get the recognition they should … we appreciate you, and we couldn’t do [our jobs] without you.”

The award, accepted for the fire department by Second Assistant Chief Jay Kelchner and Second Lieutenant Mike Wood, was the capstone of an evening in which nearly 200 CAVAC members and their spouses celebrated the organization’s 40-year anniversary with food, drink, laughter, recognitions and thanks.

There was also a two-foot model of a CAVAC ambulance that was, in fact, a huge cake later devoured as the evening’s dessert.

The CAVAC banquet, held in the Cazenovia College Dining Hall, was one of the largest banquets the organization has ever had, Widrick said. In addition to CAVAC volunteers and their guests, there also were in attendance representatives from Cazenovia, Erieville, Pompey Hill and New Woodstock fire departments, Madison County EMS Services, the Greater Cazenovia Area Chamber of Commerce and the Cazenovia Central School District, as well as the mayor of Cazenovia and the supervisors of Cazenovia and Nelson.

While dinner was being eaten, a 20-minute video was shown in which CAVAC members told why they volunteer for the organization. The answers included a desire to help, a way to give back to the community, a way to make a difference, a personal experience with emergency responders that created a desire to become one and, for many, it was a family tradition.

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