Obviously battling fires is the main focus of any firefighter. But as we have learned in our weekly salute to First Responders, community service is a huge part of the career too. Whitesboro's Deputy Chief, Joseph Lenhardt is being honored by a state agency for his work for the people in the village.

The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York has bestowed their Fire Service Community Achievement Award upon Deputy Chief Lenhardt. The association says the "award honors volunteer firefighters who have the courage to face danger and the heart to help out in their communities." Whitesboro Fire Department Chief, George F. Massarotti echoed their honor.

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.

Joe has served as a volunteer firefighter for 20 years, spending 14 of those years with the New Hartford Fire Department were he attained the rank of Assistant Fire Chief.  Joining Whitesboro in 2016, Chief Deputy Lenhardt continued his work training and educating firefighters and helping those in need.


Along with being an active member as a line officer and serving on the Board of Directors, Joe also became the Mentor Program leader, recruiting and training new members within the department. Whitesboro firefighters are often complimented on their incoming firefighting techniques when attending New York State training classes .

Chief Massarotti says Joe works just as hard creating a positive atmosphere around the station enabling all members to take pride in their group.  From renovating rooms, painting hallways, building crafts and encouraging other volunteers to take an active role in department fundraising events.

In the words of our late President John F. Kennedy, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. Joseph Lenhardt truly lives by the words he so often shares.

Deputy Chief Lenhardt thank you for the long term commitment to protecting the residents of Whitesboro and teaching others what community service means.

Do you know a first responder that deserves to be recognized? Tell us about someone who should be honored in Central New York - a firefighter, police officer, EMT, forest ranger, paramedic, DEC officers, military, rescuers, front line workers, or any other person first on the scene.

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