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CNY Firefighters Association Honors Several Firefighters

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The 129th Central New York Firefighters Association Convention was hosted by the Homer Fire Department over the weekend alongside the fire department’s 150th anniversary celebrations.


On Saturday morning, the CNY Firefighters Association Awards were held at the CNY Living History Center with the 2023 Firefighter of the Year Award and Scholarship Award presented.

This year’s CNY Firefighters Association Firefighter of the Year was Cortlandville Fire Department Firefighter, Jonathan Alteri. Firefighter Alteri reduced and occupant who was trapped in a creek after the vehicle had rolled over back on December 16th, 2022.

“Cortlandville Firefighter Johnathan Alteri, arrived in his personal vehicle and with the assistance of a bystander entered the freezing water and removed the occupant. Firefighter Alteri dragged the occupant to the creek bank where a rope was thrown down the embankment. Sheriff’s deputies and Cortlandville firefighters pulled the occupant from the freezing temperatures. Once removed the occupant was moved to a Sheriff’s Department vehicle and treated for signs of hypothermia. Firefighter Alteri receives this award for his meritorious act in risking his life while saving another from peril.” The CNY Firefighters Association said in a statement.

For the CNY Firefighters Association Annual Scholarships, the 2023 awards were given to Natalie Rieben (Oriskany, NY), Sean Bednarczyk (Whitesboro, NY), and Shannon O’Connell (Southport, NY).

The scholarship award is given to individuals who are in an accredited institution of higher learning and are either a member of the CNYFA or member organization or a child or grandchild of a member of CNYFA.

A posthumous award was given to Oriskany Independent Fire & Hose Company Past Chief, Gary Kraeger. He was honored with the 2023 Ray Sherburne-John Haley Lifetime Contribution to the Volunteer Fire Service Award. Kraeger passed away on November 12th, 2022.

“Chief Kraeger joined the Oriskany Fire Department in 1965 and rose through the line officer’s ranks becoming Chief in 1974 and held that position for over Fourteen (14) years until he retired in 1988. During his tenure, Chief Kraeger was directly instrumental in the development of a Fire Prevention program that taught many elementary students not only in the Oriskany school system, but eventually across Oneida County, Central New York, and New York State. This program received the James W. Wright Public Education Award in 2015 from the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs. As Chief, he developed training programs that resulted in no loss of life to any Firefighter and trained all members within local, state, and federal standards. He ensured all apparatus and equipment were up to date to guarantee the safety of his firefighters.” CNYFA stated.

“Within the Oriskany Fire Department, Chief Kraeger was a major part of the development of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Oriskany Fire Department, who worked closely with the officers and members over the years. Chief Kraeger was a Charter Member of the Oriskany Volunteer Exempt Firefighters Benevolent Association and served as Treasurer for over 19 years, Secretary for 2 years and Vice President for 4 years. Within the Oriskany Community, Chief Kraeger was on the village planning board and codes department for many years, ensuring compliance with local, county, state, and federal safety standards. He could be seen at the village offices many days of the week. Chief Kraeger drove school bus for the Oriskany School district daily for well over 50 years and many students became firefighters under his direction.” The statement continued.

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