More than 100 people attend seventh-annual dinner
Beacon Elks Lodge No. 1493 on Feb. 6 honored nine emergency responders for their valor or long service. More than 100 people attended the sold-out event.
Brendon Hernandez has been a volunteer firefighter with the Beacon Fire Department since 2004. In 2008 he saved a victim of a house fire and in 2013, while working as an EMT in New York City, wrestled a gun away from a patient who had shot a police officer. Hernandez was instrumental in the dedication ceremony for the new ladder truck at Mase Hook and Ladder Company.
Karen Piga has spent 40 years with the Beacon Volunteer Ambulance Corps (VAC). She began as a junior member in 1976 and not only is certified as an EMT but also has served as a lieutenant, recording secretary, board member, financial secretary and on the brunch and Catherine S. Partridge Scholarship committee.
Linda DiBrita (EMT), Richard Antonaccio (paramedic) and Antony Tseng (EMT) were recognized for their actions on Feb. 1, 2015, when the Beacon VAC was dispatched at about 10 p.m. to Interstate 84 in the area of the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge Toll plaza for a report of a 38-year-old man experiencing chest pain. The crew found the victim in his car in cardiac arrest. He was stabilized at the scene and transported to Vassar Brothers Medical Center, where he was found to have one artery with a 90 percent blockage and another with a 70 percent blockage. The victim was discharged four days later.
Terrence Davis of the Fishkill Correction Facility, who also volunteers for the Beacon FD and Beacon VAC, was working the night shift on Nov. 1, 2015, when a co-worker in another unit began to lose consciousness. Davis quickly assessed that she was having an allergic reaction and administered injections of Epinephrine and Benadryl, then stayed with her until the ambulance arrived.
Dennis Cable of the Slater Chemical Fire Company in Glenham was recognized for his 50 years of service, only the third member in company history to reach that milestone. Cable joined the company on May 3, 1966, at the age of 18. He has served as a 1st and 2nd lieutenant as well as vice president and president. Cable also served the Glenham Fire District as assistant chief.
Tom Williams was also honored for lifetime achievement. He joined the Lake Mohegan Fire District at age 18 before serving with the U.S. Navy in the Vietnam War. After returning home, he was appointed a career firefighter, where he served for 30 years before retiring with the rank of lieutenant. Williams was also New York State Fire Instructor who taught ladder operations at the Westchester County Fire Academy. When Williams moved into Dutchess Junction, he joined the fire company there and served as chief. With the assistance of his vast knowledge of fire trucks, Dutchess Junction purchased its first new pumper.
Sgt. Robert Sellick of the Beacon Police Department was recognized for his actions on May 7, 2015, when at about 3:45 p.m., dispatchers received a report of a carjacking at knifepoint at Memorial Park. Although Sellick’s shift had ended (he was in the locker room changing), he put his uniform back on to respond. The perpetrator had abandoned the stolen vehicle at the north end of North Elm Street and fled on foot. Sellick, listening to radio transmissions, calculated that the subject was headed to Interstate 84 and drove his patrol car there, where he saw the man run from the woods. Sellick pursued him on foot until the suspect encountered a fence and turned with the knife to engage the sergeant, refusing his commands to drop the weapon. Sellick fired three rounds, striking the suspect twice.
Front row, from left: Brendan Hernandez (Beacon FD); Linda DiBirta, Karen Piga, Richard Antonaccio (all Beacon VAC); Dutchess County legislator Jerry Landisi; Terrence Davis (Fishkill Correctional Facility); and George Dionysius (Beacon Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler). Back row, from left: Antony Tseng (Beacon VAC); Dennis Cable (Slater Chemical Fire Company); Tom Williams (Dutchess Junction Fire Company); Sgt. Robert Sellick (Beacon PD); and Carl Oken (Beacon Elks Lodge Esteemed Lecturing Knight).
Photo by Samantha Tseng