Whitesboro fire chief receives honor

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WHITESBORO — A deputy fire chief with the Whitesboro Volunteer Fire Department was honored on Tuesday for his service to the community.

Deputy Chief Joseph Lenhardt received the 2021 Fire Service Community Achievement Award from the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, officials said.

“Joe Lenhardt epitomizes the word ‘volunteer’ and what that word means to a community that has been stricken by five major floods over the past seven years,” said Whitesboro Fire Chief George F. Massarotti.

Lenhardt started his service with the New Hartford Fire Department, where he volunteered for 14 years and rose in the ranks to assistant fire chief. Officials said Lenhardt prided himself on helping others, from showing new members the ropes to helping veteran firefighters in their efforts to become more proficient.

In 2016, Lenhardt joined the Whitesboro Fire Department and worked in training and education, officials said. He was both an active line member and served on the board of directors, assisting in recruitment of new members.

Officials said Lenhardt took over and renewed the Mentor Program in Whitesboro, helping to improve the skills of new members.

As a member of the board of directors, officials said Lenhardt worked tirelessly to renovate rooms and bring some much needed face lifts to the fire station itself. During the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said Lenhardt helped raise funds for day-to-day operations, including encouraging his mentored students to play an active role in fundraising.

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