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Family, community support critical for success, say firefighters in Schenectady

Family, community support critical for success, say firefighters in Schenectady

Four Schenectady Fire Department members promoted
Family, community support critical for success, say firefighters in Schenectady
Schenectady announced new promotions for the Schenectady Fire Department at a ceremony Monday morning.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

SCHENECTADY — Success is a group effort, and career elevation would be impossible without family and community support, said city Fire Department members who are moving up the ranks.

Acts of self-sacrifice by family members don’t go unnoticed, said Assistant Fire Chief Donald Mareno, who was formally promoted at a ceremony Monday morning in the City Hall Rotunda.

“None of us have done this on our own,” Mareno said.

Firefighters, whose work is characterized by long hours and unpredictable schedules, also owe ongoing success to their predecessors and even the residents who interact with the department on the worst days of their lives, he said. 

“It reminds me why we joined this profession,” he said, “to always make a positive impact of the lives of others.”

Promotions, said Public Safety Commissioner Michael Eidens, are all about hard work and family.

“It’s also a family day,” Eidens said.

Mareno began his career at the Schenectady department in 1991.

He was promoted to lieutenant in 2003, captain in 2011 and deputy chief three years later, where he was assigned as the platoon commander for the Third Platoon, according to the mayor’s office.

Joining Mareno in receiving promotions are Deputy Chief Joshua Gioeli, Capt. Stanley Wilgocki and Lt. Daniel Morgalis.

Eiden pinned badges to their uniforms after Mayor Gary McCarthy led them in reciting their oaths.

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McCarthy said the group has demonstrated “excellence in complicated and sometimes challenging events.”

The profession has grown more complex in recent years, he said, because members are increasingly providing health care and EMS services. 

“They make greatness look routine,” McCarthy said.

The promotions were triggered by the retirement of Assistant Chief Michael Gillespie, who left the force last month after 32 years.

“One retirement triggers four promotions,” Fire Chief Ray Senecal said.

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