POTTERSVILLE - A man who has dedicated more than a half-century of service to his community was honored recently by the Pottersville Volunteer Fire Department.
A gathering of almost 70 people attended a ceremony and barbecue to honor Duane Agard's retirement from the fire company and recognize his 56 years of active service. The group included department members, and Agard's family and friends paying tribute to his achievements.
First assistant Chief Delvin Wheeler, Second Assistant Chief Don Singleton, and Treasurer Kevin Ferguson presented Mr. Agard with a ceremonial firefighter helmet with a gold shield. He and his wife, Golda, were also presented with a trip to Hogansburg, jointly given by the Department and its Ladies Auxiliary.
Golda Agard was honored for her years of support and encouragement - hailed as a vital factor in enabling volunteer work. The tribute included recognition of her own service in the Fire Department's Auxiliary.
During the ceremony, Fire Chief Guy Swartwout said that Duane Agard had not just responded to hundreds of incidents, drills and meetings, but he had put in countless extra hours of volunteer work on various projects.
" Duane has a career with the fire department unparalleled by any other member in its history," Swartwout said, noting his work on buildings and apparatus was vital to the effective work of the department, welfare of the community, and benefit of his fellow members.
"Huge amounts of Duane's unselfish work and sacrifice of time were never noticed by most, and certainly not by the civilians of Pottersville Fire District," Swartwout said.
Agard held a variety of positions and offices in the department during his tenure, including Chief.
Until the day before his retirement, Agard was a Fire Captain and foreman of a primary engine, responsible for vehicle maintenance and training. He has also served many years as a District Commissioner where his work contributed to acquisition of apparatus and the construction of the spacious new firehouse which has brought recognition to Pottersville around the state.
Agard has consistently demonstrated enthusiasm for fire service, Swartwout said.
For his entire tenure, Agard has recruited new members, aided and teaching fellow members, and encouraged department leaders.
"Duane Agard has been an exemplary representative of the department in the community and in the fire service of Warren County," Swartwout said. "His 56 years are a model of community service - No other fire department member has had the measure of influence he has had, made as much difference as he has, or had a greater part in the success of the department and what it has grown to be."