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March 15, 2022 - 3:25pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in Tony Mudrzynski, Alabama Fire, news, fire services.

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Tony Mudrzynski was recently recognized by the Alabama Volunteer Fire Company for achieving an incredible milestone.

At their installation and awards banquet on March 8, Mudrzynski was honored for 70 years of active membership in the fire company.

Another former Alabama resident, Gordon Baubie, has also been a member for 70 years, but now lives in Penn Yan and was unable to attend.

Mudrzynski was born in 1934 on Fisher Road in Oakfield, one of seven children, all of whom were born at home. His family moved to a farm on Lockport Road when he was 2 months old.

When Mudrzynski’s father was diagnosed with lung cancer, he put the farm up for sale.

“I crawled into the haymow and cried for an hour,” he said. “Luckily, the farm didn’t sell.

His father died when Mudrzynski was 16, and at the end of his sophomore year, he quit school to take care of his mother and siblings.

“I loved farming, and that’s what I wanted to do,” he said.

When his mother died at 95, she had never been in a hospital, Mudrzynski said.

Tony and his brother Hank eventually bought the farm, and later two others down the road.

No one in Tony’s family had been a member of the fire company, but he decided it was something he wanted to do to help other people.

“And you never know when you might need a firefighter,” he said.

Tony joined the Alabama Volunteer Fire Company on Feb. 11,  1952, just two days before his 18th birthday. The fire department was just five years old. Hank would join several years later, just two weeks after he turned 18, and has also served various roles, including 13 years as chief.

Tony said he was offered the job as chief, but turned it down.

“Somebody had to be at home to milk the cows,” he said. “I have held every office but chief.”

He has been treasurer for at least 15 years. He continues in that role, goes to Buffalo regularly to get bingo supplies, volunteers every week to get things ready for bingo, counts the money and makes the deposit.

Tony can rattle off every piece of equipment the fire company ever purchased, its model, and what they paid for it. Their first new truck was bought in 1950 at a cost of $10,000. Their last piece, a pumper/tanker bought in 2018, cost $434,000.

Tony recalls the first carnival the fire company had on schoolhouse grounds in Alabama Center.

“We made 150 gallons of chowder and sold it all,” he said. “We had a fund drive at that carnival to build the two-bay building across the road. Hank and I tore the old down. That was around 1954.

In the early days, there were four of five phones in homes in the districts where fire calls would ring into. Then those people would notify the other firefighters.

Tony said he used to respond to nearly every call. His first major fire was Kelsey’s barn on Macomber Road.

Tony was actively involved with the fire company when they acquired the land to build the hall on Judge Road in South Alabama. He said Guy and Ken Simons donated two acres of land and the fire company purchased another 4.2 acres. The hall was built in 1956. Carnivals were held there until the mid-1980s when they served fish fries on Friday night.

When chicken barbecues became popular, Tony looked into having one for the fire company. Their first one was in June 1956, and they have had them every year since, except during the pandemic. Last year was take-out only, he said.

He has also worked on their annual auctions the first Saturday in October, dating back to the first one in 1956, which netted $2,000. The second year it netted $800, and since profits have soared from $6,000 to $8,000.

“We don’t have to canvas the neighborhood anymore for donation,” Tony said. “People just bring us their stuff.”

When the recreation hall was built in 1967, the fire company went full steam with bingo.

Tony married Helen Fry in 1967. She had two children. She died 15 years ago.

Tony’s wife, mother, and sister Josephine were all active members of the Ladies Auxiliary, which sadly has disbanded due to lack of membership.

In 1992, Tony ran for town supervisor and ended up serving for 22 years.

Tony doesn’t respond to active calls anymore, but he is still articulate in his bookwork.

“My balance is not that good anymore, so I don’t belong out there fighting fires,” he said.

But he will still continue his work as treasurer and continue checking out the fire hall a couple of times a week to make sure everything is alright.

“The people I’ve met and the friendships I’ve made through the fire service and being town supervisor can’t be replaced by anything,” Tony said. “I wouldn’t give them up for the world, and I have no regrets about quitting school.”

Photos by Howard Owens

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March 15, 2022 - 3:20pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in Alabama Fire, news, fire services.

For the first time in two years, the Alabama Volunteer Fire Company held an award and installation banquet.

The fire company was not able to have their annual banquet in 2020 or 2021 due to Covid, and decided to scale down the event this year due to continued concerns, said president Wendy Allen-Thompson.

The banquet took place on March 8 on the evening of the regular monthly meeting, with dinner catered by Penna’s, presentation of awards, and installation of officers.

Allen-Thompson was emcee for the evening.

First on the agenda was remembering four members who died during 2020. They are Edwin “Ed” Schoenthal, Leo Snyder, Henry Brunea, and Gary Tripp.

Rick Brunea, deputy chief, presented the first award of the evening – the EMS Award to the entire Alabama Rescue Squad, to honor all members who responded to emergencies during the past years.

The Service Award was presented by vice president Joe Uhrinek to Pat Buczek, a longtime and active member who always steps up in an emergency.

“He is dependable, a capable driver and pump operator,” Uhrinek said. “You can always count on him.”

Two past Firefighters of the Year, Brian and Todd Thompson, chose to name the entire fire company as “Firefighters of the Year” this year.

“They all had to step up more than other years, and there was not one who stepped up above the others,” the Thompsons said. “We are all a team in everything we do.”

Allen-Thompson’s President Award was new this year and recognized a new member of at least one year and not more than five. She chose Joshua Miller as the recipient of the Rising Star Award.

He has attended all his firefighting classes and is up-to-date with his training, Allen-Thompson said.

Allen-Thompson then presented a pin to members for years of service, in addition to a special gift for members with active service.

New members introduced were Brianna Bronson-Smith, Mark Smith, and Jacob Cook.

Three members were recognized for 10 years of service from 2019 to 2020. They are Ryan Thompson, Diane Fry and Mike Bielski.

Recognized for 2021 for one year were Bob Kehlenbeck, Joshua Mullen, and Gary R. Patnode; five years, Joe Uhrinek; 10 years,  Michelle Patnode and Kristopher Thompson; 20 years, Gloria Abrams; 35 years, Jeff Sage; 40 years, Ron Bauer; and 70 years, Gordon Baubie and Tony Mudrzynski.

Baubie, who now lives in Penn Yan, did not attend the banquet, but Rob Crossen offered to take him a fire department blanket as a souvenir for his years of service.

Proclamations were presented from Assemblyman Stephen Hawley to Todd Thompson. Tony Mudrzynski received proclamations from Hawley and Senator Mary Lou Rath.

New officers were installed by Kevin Fisher, deputy supervisor/councilman of the town of Alabama. They are president, Wendy-Allen Thompson; vice president, Joe Uhrinek; treasurer, Tony Mudrzynski; secretary, Leah Thompson; financial secretary, Rob Crossen; Bell jar secretary, Clayton Fry; and board of directors, Terry Thompson, Hank Mudrzynski, Rick Brunea, Gary Patnode Sr. and Alison Thompson.

Fire Chief is Gary Patnode Jr. Appointed officers are deputy fire chief, Rick Brunea; assistant fire chiefs, Pat Buczek and Sid Eick;  captain, Ryan Thompson; lieutenant, Todd Thompson; EMS captain, Terry Thompson; and fire police captain, Hank Mudrzynski.

Photos by Howard Owens.

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Joshua Miller

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Pat Buczek receives service award from Joe Uhrinek.

July 14, 2021 - 11:51pm
posted by Alison Thompson in Alabama Fire.
Event Date and Time: 
August 4, 2021 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Alabama Fire Dept. Bingo is returning on a new night and time! We are relaunching Bingo on Wednesday nights at 7pm Our first Bingo will be on Wednesday, August 4th 2021 at 7pm We look forward to seeing you!
March 15, 2020 - 7:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, Alabama Fire, gun raffle, news, Monday Night Bingo.
The Alabama Fire Department is canceling Monday Night Bingo until further notice. In addition, our Gun Raffle scheduled for March 22 has been postponed.
June 5, 2017 - 1:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, Alabama Fire, news.

A FM Global representative recently presented the grant to First Assistant Chief Nik Bruner, middle, and Second Assistant Chief Bill Schutt, left, at the Town of Alabama Fire Department Station One located on Judge Road, Alabama.

Submitted photo and press release:

The Town of Alabama Volunteer Fire Department has received a $1,500 fire prevention grant from FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers.

The award will be used to assist with prefire planning to efficiently collect and track data related to local community buildings.  The information will help the fire service respond in an emergency situation.

Because fire continues to be the leading cause of property damage worldwide, during the past 40 years FM Global has contributed millions of dollars in fire prevention grants to fire service organizations around the globe. The company has awarded grants to a number of New York-based organizations.

“At FM Global, we strongly believe the majority of property damage is preventable, not inevitable,” said Michael Spaziani, manager of the fire prevention grant program. “Far too often, inadequate budgets prevent those organizations working to prevent fire from being as proactive as they would like to be. With additional financial support, grant recipients are actively helping to improve property risk in the communities they serve.”

Through its Fire Prevention Grant Program, FM Global awards grants to fire departments—as well as national, state, regional, local and community organizations worldwide—that best demonstrate a need for funding, where dollars can have the most demonstrable impact on preventing fire, or mitigating the damage it can quickly cause.

To learn more about FM Global’s Fire Prevention Grant Program, or to apply for a grant, please visit www.fmglobal.com/grants.

November 8, 2016 - 1:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, Alabama Fire, fire services, news.

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Alabama Volunteer Fire Department held its annual awards banquet and installation of officers.

Sid Eick achieved the rare distinction of winning both the Service Award, selected by the chief, and the Fireman of the Year Award, selected by the previous three winners of the award.

Eick has been active for 44 years and is currently a captain.

Several members were also honored for their years in service, including Gloria Abrams and Barbara Lee Hendershott for 15 years, Robert Eick for 20 years, Todd Thompson and Jeffrey Sage, for 30 years, and at 50 years -- Henry Brunea.

Brunea received a watch and a citation from Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

The installed fire officers are: Chief -- Gary Patnode; 1st Assistant Chief -- Nikkolas Bruner; 2nd Assistant Chief -- William Schutt; Captains -- Patrick Buczek &  Sidney Eick; Lieutenants -- Aron Kehlenbeck & Ashley Covel; EMS Captain -- Richard Brunea; EMS Lieutenant -- Terry Thompson; Fire Police Captain -- Ryan Thompson; Health & Safety Officer -- David Kinney.

Service officers: President --Robert Crossen; Vice President -- Patrick Buczek; Treasurer -- Anthony Mudrzynski; Secretary -- Michelle Patnode; Financial Secretary --Rebecca Borkholder; Board of Directors -- Henry Mudrzynski, Rick Brunea, Edwin Schoenthal, Donald Sage, & Gary Patnode Sr.; Chaplain -- Ralph Bauer; Bell Jar Secretary -- Clayton Fry.

The theme of the event was "Prom," so of course, there were Prom King and Queen and their Court. Prom King -- Tony Mudrzynski; Prom Queen -- Jo Anna Benaquist; Prince -- Ryan Thompson; Princess -- Jenna Wozniak; Jester -- Chad Pratt.

Photos and info provided by Alison Thompson.

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