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South Byron Fire honors its own, swears in 2024 officers at annual dinner

By Virginia Kropf
south byron fire dinner
Fred Klycek, left, is speechless after Bob Wilson, vice president of the South Byron Fire Company, presented him with awards as Fireman of the Year and Member of the Year.
Photo by Virginia Kropf

 South Byron Volunteer Fire Company’s 48th annual banquet was one of celebration and remembrance.

The fire company, which is 104 years old, began the evening with a welcome and introduction of guests by emcee Fred Klycek.

After a prayer by the Rev. Harold Coller, a buffet dinner was served by Fred Hamilton and his crew.

Town of Stafford Justice of the Peace Bob Mattice swore in officers of the fire company, auxiliary, and fire police.

New firematic officers are Chief Brian Hickey, Deputy Chief Scott Blossom, Assistant Chief Jim McKenzie, 1st Lieutenant Christopher Hilbert, 2nd Lieutenant Al Secash, and engineer Matthew Dougherty.

Administrative officers are President Reggie Macdonald, Vice President Robert Wilson, Treasurer Alfred Klycek, Secretary Elizabeth Penkszyk, membership chair, and Sunshine Chair Theresa Hammer.

Members of the auxiliary board are President Michelle Dougherty, Vice President Beth Wilson, Treasurer Rozanne Klycek, Secretary Melody Stone, and party chair and sunshine Chair Theresa Hammer.

Fire police officers are Captain Theresa Hammer, Sergeant Reggie Macdonald, and Corporal Fred Klycek.

In a moving presentation, Elizabeth Penkszyk paid tribute to the one member lost during 2023, her grandfather Allan “Sneakers” Blossom. Blossom was a 47-year member of the fire company, who was dedicated to its mission.

“He’s the reason why I joined the fire company, making me a third-generation member,” Penkszyk said.

Her father, Scott Blossom, is a second-generation family member of the department.

In concluding the memorial ceremony, Penkszyk and her grandmother Mariellen Blossom lit a candle in honor of “Sneakers,” while observing a moment of silence.

The fire company gained one new member last year, Aaron Lathrop, who is carrying on his grandfather’s legacy, as Penkszyk did, she said.

The next presentation was the Auxiliary’s gift to the fire company.

“We wanted to make sure our firefighters are safe and well-seen when they respond to a call,” said Michelle Dougherty, Auxiliary president.

She was assisted by Melody Stone, Auxiliary secretary, in presenting Reggie Macdonald with one of the lighted safety vests they purchased for the department.

Macdonald next announced donations and tips from the bar would be donated this year to Mercy Flight and to the South Byron Rescue Squad to help pay for their new ambulance. No one was present from Mercy Flight, but Brad Nickerson accepted the check for the Rescue Squad.

Scott Blossom gave a firematic report, saying they had responded to 60-some calls last year. Chief Brian Hickey was named top responder in those calls

The department logged 535 training hours, with Matt Dougherty accumulating the most.

Fireman of the Year and Member of the Year were awarded to the same individual – Fred Klycek. When Bob Wilson called him to the podium to accept the Fireman of the Year Award, he said he didn’t expect that, and he was speechless.

“I had no idea,” he said. “But it takes a whole crew, and they all deserve this award.”

When he was called back and named Member of the Year, Klycek said he was really flabbergasted.

Wilson said Klycek does a tremendous amount of work for the fire company, and has for years.

“Much of what he does wouldn’t get done if he didn’t do it,” Wilson said.

The evening concluded with the awarding of door prizes and a benediction by the Rev. Coller.

south byron fire dinner
Michelle Dougherty, right, president of the South Byron Firemen’s Auxiliary, and secretary Melody Stone, pose with fire company president Reggie Macdonald, after presenting him with one of the lighted safety vests the Auxiliary purchased for the fire department.
Photo by Virginia Kropf.
south byron fire dinner
Elizabeth Penkszyk, left, and her grandmother Mariellen Blossom observe a moment of silence during a tribute to Penkszyk’s grandfather Allan “Sneakers” Blossom, a 47-year member of the South Byron Fire Company, who died last year.
Photo by Virginia Kropf.
south byron fire dinner
Bob Mattice, the town of Stafford justice of the peace, swears in new officers at the South Byron Volunteer Fire Department banquet Saturday night.
Photo by Virginia Kropf


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