June 7, 2008
Longtime volunteer named city firefighter of year
First Assistant Volunteer Chief William Buttino has been a volunteer firefighter since 1979
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland Fire Department’s firefighter of the year, Bill Buttino, accompanied by his two sons Chris, left, and Mike are also firefighters. American Legion Post 489 presented the award to Buttino Friday.
The City Fire Department recognized its firefighter of the year and swore in its newest full-time member at a ceremony Friday morning.
First Assistant Volunteer Chief William Buttino received the American Legion Post 489’s Firefighter of the Year Award.
In his letter nominating Buttino for the award, Department Chief Dennis Baron wrote that Buttino has served in the Cortland Fire Department since 1979 and has held various positions in the department, including Rescue Squad lieutenant, company foreman and truck company lieutenant.
Buttino was elected second assistant chief in 2002, and gained his current position as first assistant chief in 2004.
“The Fire Department has come to trust that he (Buttino) can handle special assignments and provide positive leadership to the firefighters under his command,” Baron wrote in the letter, which Post 489 Adjutant and former post commander Raymond Nauseef read during the ceremony.
After Nauseef presented him with his plaque, Buttino’s two sons, Michael, 24, and Christopher, 21, posed with their father for photographs. Michael and Christopher are also volunteer firefighters.
“It’s not my usual style to go after awards,” Buttino said after the ceremony. “But on the other hand, it’s an honor to know that your work does get recognized. You don’t know how much you’ve done over the years until someone digs all this stuff up.”
The American Legion’s Post 489 presents the award, but Nauseef said they generally accept the candidate nominated by the fire department. This year, Buttino was the only nominee.
“He’s a great chief, he takes care of his troops,” said Al Hall, the post’s finance officer.
Hall said the post has been presenting the Firefighter of the Year award for nearly 30 years. A plaque in the post’s headquarters holds the names of all the former recipients, including Buttino’s, since he first received the award in 1993.
“Somebody needs to take care of these guys,” Nauseef said. “For the services they provide the community, they should be recognized.”
Also during the Friday ceremony, Mayor Tom Gallagher swore in the department’s newest paid firefighter, Tim Clemons.
Clemons, 27, grew up in Tully and began as a volunteer firefighter there when he was 17.
He said he decided to become a full-time firefighter during his first semester at Alfred State University, where he went on to earn a degree in construction.
Since he graduated, he said he’s been waiting for a full-time position to open while working for J. Bishop Builders in Tully and continuing his volunteer work with the Tully Fire Station.
“What I’m looking forward to most is getting a chance to meet new people,” Clemons said Thursday, his first day on the job at the city’s main fire station.
Clemons said he is scheduled to report to the Fire Academy in Auburn on Monday. When he finishes training, he said he will most likely acclimate to working as a full-time firefighter by working on a rescue truck.
Clemons pinned on his badge at the conclusion of the swearing-in ceremony.
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