Schenectady firefighters enjoy home cooked meal and holiday cheer at Station 1 – The Daily Gazette


A smell of bacon hung in the air at the Schenectady fire station on Saturday afternoon.

Just before the strips got too crispy, Firefighter James Raucci pulled them off the stove, patted some of the fat, and chopped it into small pieces to make mashed potatoes.

Raucci was the station cook for the Christmas Day party.

He’s one of the many guys who cook at the fire station, so since he was working during the holidays he said he would get down to the plate and cook the food for the nine members of the team.

So, at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Raucci started in the produce section of the Altamont Avenue Price Chopper in Rotterdam. He grabbed some grapes and asparagus and other items and then moved on to shrimp and cheese for Saturday afternoon to keep the guys going until dinner.

The cheese board also included sliced ​​meats that Raucci picked up on Wednesday at Capri Imports Italian Deli on Broadway.

“I like to stay local and shop in town when I can,” he said, recalling how his mother used to buy meat for lunch in Capri. “The little places in town aren’t going to last long.”

He also stayed local for the main course, a quality 21-pound roast, which he bought at the Avon Market on Van Vranken for $ 217.

Normally, the shift spends about $ 20 per person to cover meals for the day. However, they give extra to the holidays to make the meal special since they cannot be at home.

“You have to replace some of that holiday magic,” Raucci said.

The holiday shift can be tough, Deputy Chief Doug Faulisi said.

It can also be busier, Fausi said, with more serious medical calls from people waiting too long to call for help. There are also more answers for mental health calls.

By five and a half hours on shift, the crew had already answered five calls.

It was a lull, said Lt. Stan Wilgocki, who was on his last Christmas shift at the station.

He is expected to retire in March after spending 20 years in the ministry.

Faulisi said that while he was assigned to Christmas Day shifts, others were picking them up so that firefighters with children could spend the day at home. So when the guys can sit down for a meal together it helps reduce the stress of the day and brings some Christmas cheer to the resort.

“We are a second family,” said Wilgocki.

Wilgocki said his last Christmas shift was a bit bittersweet as there was a lot of camaraderie among the station members.

Firefighter Mike Stanley agreed. He too was working his last Christmas shift before retiring after 22 years.

He said: “There are mixed emotions.”

For Ed Harasiemowicz III, this will be the first of his many holidays. Faulisi said it was only Harasiemowicz’s second shift at the station. He has just become a firefighter, following in the footsteps of his father, who retired in April 2020.

While the crew may not be able to spend all day with their family, it’s easier when some of them stop at the train station.

Faulisi’s wife and her two daughters came by in the morning to wish the crew a “Merry Christmas” and bring them a small gift. The family of firefighter Mark Karl also stopped, with his children showing off some of the gifts they received from their father.

Others, like Wilgocki, video messages to their families. A smile spread across his face as he chatted with his wife as she visited her children and nephew.

“This is truly one of the blessings of today,” he said of the technology. “In some ways that makes it easier. ”

Many of the crew moved in and out of the galley throughout the afternoon, checking the cooking, while continuing to carry out their normal daily chores, whether cleaning or other chores. housewives.

Faulisi said meals on vacation or any day can be tough when they get a call. If someone who is cooking leaves, another member will watch the food. If they all leave, they stop everything. Sometimes that spoils the meal and the department decides to settle for pizza instead, he said.

Fortunately, this did not happen. At approximately 5:45 p.m., the crew happily sat down and ate the meal, with members calling it a success.

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Categories: Schenectady County


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