Last weekend I had the honor of attending two very important events that I would like to share with you. The first was a ground breaking ceremony for the Northeast Quadrant Advance Life Support (NEQALS) and Webster Emergency Medical Services (EMS) new headquarters facility on Jackson Road. Since its inception, NEQALS has been housed in a pole barn, warehouse and garage while providing emergency services to Webster, north Penfield and Ontario. After many years of fundraising they acquired the property and have secured the remaining funding needed to move forward with this very important community project.
CEO/President Ahmed Mustafa recognized the NEQALS/Webster EMS for the service they provide to the residents in their district. EMS providers are a key foundation in every community, providing immediate medical care to the people who most need it. Without their response and care, many more heart attacks, medical emergencies, and accidents would lead to fatalities. EMS providers give us all a better quality of life and peace of mind.
This leads me to the other celebration I had the honor of attending—the Red, White and Blue (Fire, EMS and Police) Appreciation Day sponsored by Lighthouse Bible Baptist church, featuring guest speaker and Medal of Honor Recipient Gary Beikirch.
Sergeant Beikirch delivered an amazing and inspirational speech honoring all emergency services providers. He is one of 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients whose combat valor and civic heroics is enshrined in the National Medal of Honor Museum at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, SC.
Sergeant Beikirch received the Medal of Honor on October 15, 1973. He also received the Purple Heart, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the Combat Medic Badge, and Vietnamese Airborne Wings. Additionally, on September 22, 2012, the Second Battalion of the Fifth Special Forces Group (Airborne) named the new Battalion Operations Complex “Beikirch Hall” in his honor.
After active-duty military service, Sergeant Beikirch continued to dedicate himself to others. He became an ordained minister of the United Baptist Fellowship and spent many years as a counselor in schools, prisons, hospitals and with the Veterans Outreach Center. He currently serves as chaplain for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
On behalf of the entire town of Penfield, I would like to recognize and thank all of our emergency services providers for their time, extensive training, and dedicated service to all our communities.
Please do your part: wear a mask, practice physical distancing, help stop the spread to save lives.
Be safe and be well!
Penfield Supervisor R. Anthony (Tony) LaFountain