The Great Neck Vigilant Engine & Hook & Ladder Co., Inc., recognized Honorary Chief Eugene “Geno” Tesoriero for 70 years of service.
Vigilant Fire Company members and local officials talked about his years of dedication, passion for volunteering in the community and leadership throughout his 70 years at Vigilant. Proclamations were awarded to commemorate his remarkable achievement.
Tesoriero shared his unique insight into how the Vigilant Fire Company has evolved since he officially became a member on Oct. 6, 1947, when he was just 18 years old. He has witnessed the expanding Great Neck community, evolving fire and EMS technologies, and booming Vigilant membership. Through all this change, he remained a constant at Vigilant.
On numerous occasions, Tesoriero has risked his own life to save the lives of others while fighting fires. He has also proudly represented the Vigilant Fire Company in numerous parades and trained new firefighters.
Tesoriero was an anchor in the department in the difficult days following 9/11, providing words of encouragement to the younger fire firefighters who were struggling with grief and trauma.
He is truly beloved by his fellow Vigilants. His magnetic personality and quick wit have made him one of the fixtures in the department.
Besides presenting Tesoriero with a New York State Assembly citation, Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso spoke about a bill which he cosponsored, the New York State Volunteer Firefighter Enhanced Cancer Disability Benefits Act, which will provide volunteer firefighters who develop certain forms of cancer with enhanced disability benefits.
“These firefighters are our heroes,” said D’Urso. “They run into danger when everyone else runs out, and they are just a phone call away for anyone who needs them.”