Jeremy Babcock named Albion firefighter of the year
ALBION – The Albion Fire Department presented its annual awards during a banquet on Saturday at Batavia Downs.
Jeremy Babcock was named “Firefighter of the Year.” The department responded to 485 calls last year (from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017). Babcock led the department by going to 377 calls, despite working full-time at Rochester Institute of Technology as executive director of housing.
Babcock is a key driver for the fire department, and handles the reporting for the state and the village for the department’s calls, as well as the training records.
“Jeremy has become one of our ace number one drivers,” said Fire Chief Harry Papponetti. “He is in charge of one of the most important things, the fire reporting system.”
Babcock will use his vacation days to help the fire department if it needs a fire truck picked up or if other department business needs attention, Papponetti said.
“If I need anything, I give him a call and he does it,” Papponetti said. “He is a hard worker.”
Babcock said he enjoys volunteering with the fire department. He was born with birth defects in both arms but that hasn’t stopped him from be a reliable and important member of the fire department.
The AFD also presented other awards on Saturday.
• Officer of the Year – Jim Perruzzini, a first lieutenant, was awarded the honor. He is in charge of maintenance for the department’s 34 air packs.
“They need to be kept in tip-top shape,” Papponetti said.
Perruzzini makes sure the batteries in the air packs get weekly and monthly checks. Each quarter, about 200 batteries are replaced in the air packs. Perruzzini also makes sure the masks fit properly.
“It takes a lot of work,” Papponetti said.
Perruzzini also keeps fire hall clean by hosing the floor. He also provides leadership on fire and emergency calls.
• Chief’s Award – Steven Papponetti. The award goes to a firefighter “who does extraordinary things throughout the year,” the fire chief said.
Steven Papponetti stayed active with the Fire Department despite spending six months in Albany in the Police Academy. When he was home on weekends, he went to many fire calls, time that could have been spent resting or studying.
When Steven was hired as a state trooper, working out of Auburn, he also continued to volunteer with the Albion Fire Department when he was home.
Harry is Steven’s father. The elder Papponetti said his son has used his skills as a firefighter in some calls as a state trooper, including when a child was choking from a toy and when another child was shot. “At many motor vehicle accidents he is the first one on the scene and he does first aid,” Harry said.
• Driver of the Year – Marty Stirk. Papponetti said Stirk is a committed driver who will stay on the scene for many hours and then clean up the trucks after a fire call. He will also relieve other drivers on the scene if they have to go to work.
• Fire Police Award – James Skaggs, who started in the Fire Police about a year ago and has been very dedicated, Papponetti said.
• President’s Award – Fred Piano, who is chairman of the EMS, Family Life Committee, Fire Safety Prevention Program and also heads the department’s annual memorial service.
“And he’s one of the top responders,” said Al Cheverie, the AFD president. “He is a very active member.”
• Special 60-Year Award – Ron Armstrong, a past fire chief, continues to be an active member of the Fire Department. He gave up driving the fire trucks last year, but continues to operate trucks at the scene and help in other ways.