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Captain, Engine Co.

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Introducing Halesite's New Chief of Department - Greg Colonna

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Letter from Chief Dan McConnell to the Community:

At the end of this month my term as Chief of the Halesite Fire Department will come to an end. The past three years as Chief, and previous six years as an Assistant Chief, have been an amazing experience. It's been an honor to serve the community in this role.

I'm pleased to let you know that Greg Colonna will take over for me as Chief of Department on January 1, 2016. Greg is a life-long resident of the Halesite Community with a distinguished background. Indeed, he has over two decades of volunteer service in Halesite with increasing leadership responsibilities. I thought you would appreciate learning a little more about him and his background so we put the following bio of Greg together.

Greg has been operating as an Emergency Medical Technician ("EMT") and interior firefighting since joining the Engine Company in August of 1995. Splitting time between Halesite and out-of-state college, Greg completed basic firefighter training at the Suffolk County Fire Academy in 1996. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts from Drew University in 1997, he returned to Halesite and completed his EMT certification in 1998.

Greg became an On-Campus EMS responder for LIU CW Post while attending Graduate School. His time, while responding and training at Halesite and CW Post, provided him with notable experience that facilitated members to elect him as 2nd Lieutenant of the Department's Rescue Squad in the fall of 1999. Mentored by very engaging members of the Department, Greg began his career in employee benefits and started preparing to be a leader in the Halesite Fire Department through training and coursework with the Fire Academy. In 2000, Greg was elected Lieutenant of the Engine Company. Once he received his Master of Public Administration and Healthcare Administration in 2001, Greg embarked on a career in employee benefits consulting and commenced officer training with the Fire Academy. By 2006, Greg earned the Chief Officer Certification through a joint program with the Fire Academy and Empire State College, which propelled him to be elected Captain of the Engine Company in 2006.

As a very active member of the Department, Greg led his fire and EMS teams through many emergencies where both his technical and leadership skills were tested. He was consistently looked to as the drill instructor, lead EMT as well as initial Company Officer during alarms. This activity was noticed by the members and teammates, which enabled him to be nominated for, and elected to, 2nd Assistant Chief in December 2009.

Greg was involved with several milestone emergencies in the region. These include the 1995 Wildfires, 2001 World Trade Center standby for the FDNY, Extraordinary storms Irene and Sandy, as well as the 2012 Wildfires. His sense of urgency with alarms affected him to sacrifice much of his personal time to help others, including times during mutual aid responses to other Departments as well as stand-by coverage to our neighbors.

After his three year term as 2nd Assistant Chief, Greg was elected 1st Assistant Chief in December 2012. In this role Greg worked closely with a small group of members to re-draft the Department's Standard Operating Guidelines. These new guidelines will be looked upon as the new foundation for all aspects of Department operations. Somewhere with all of this happening, Greg has found time to serve on the Board of Directors for the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center Fund at Stony Brook Hospital.

Greg is a lifelong resident of Huntington and a graduate of Huntington High School. He greatly values his career as a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist, which has evolved dramatically and has taken him to the forefront of healthcare reform. Greg was recognized in Long Island Business News' 40 under 40 Class of 2015 for his efforts both in his career and his volunteer service with the Halesite Fire Department. He received the Archie Wilkins Humanitarian award in 2009 and the Community Service Award in 2012 from BWD Group. Greg resides in Halesite, NY with his wife Darlene, his son Alexander, and his two dogs, Guin and Kona. He enjoys playing lacrosse with his son and spending coveted free time with this family and friends.

As you can see from Greg's background, the Halesite community will be in great hands following my departure. On behalf of all the members in our organization, I wish you and your family a happy and safe New Year!

Sincerely,

Dan McConnell
Chief of Department




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