In recognition of their valiant and longstanding service to the community, Hobart and William Smith Colleges will present nearly 50 Geneva volunteer firefighters with the Presidential Citation of Service at a reception on Friday, Jan. 20. President Mark D. Gearan will join with Chief Michael Combs in honoring each of the men who have served with the Geneva Fire Department for at least 50 years, with several having more than 60 years of service.
“These brave men have devoted their time and their lives to serving our community,” says Gearan. “They have protected generations of Hobart and William Smith students and have responded professionally and immediately to every fire call or alarm on our campus for their entire adult lives. We are grateful to them for this invaluable service and dedication.”
The Colleges will also recognize the mentorship that the firefighters provide each semester to Hobart and William Smith students who volunteer with their three fire companies. In recent years, nearly a dozen students have served as firefighters during their time at HWS, gaining considerable life experience while giving back to the community that hosts them for four years.
“We want to formally thank them for the valuable experience that they have offered to so many of our students,” says Gearan.
The Colleges will recognize firefighters from all three fire companies in Geneva, the Hydrant Hose Company, C.J. Folger Hook and Ladder, and Nester Hose Company.
Hobart and William Smith have an historical connection with the C.J. Folger Hook and Ladder Company. After it was formed in February of 1886, the company was named for a Hobart alum, Charles J. Folger, in a unanimous vote by its members. A member of the Class of 1836, Folger was a Geneva resident and firefighter who was admitted to the bar in 1839 following graduation from Hobart College. He eventually served as the president of the Geneva Village Board of Trustees, a State Senator, and Secretary of the Treasury in the Cabinet of President Chester A. Arthur.
The reception and presentation of the Presidential Citation will be held at 5 p.m. in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center. The community is invited to attend.