Believe 271 Foundation Year in Review 2022

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Believe 271 Foundation Year in Review 2022

By Brian McQueen, President

Your Board: Vice President Fred Sherman, Secretary/Asst Treasurer Betsy Schwertfeger, Treasurer/Corresponding Secretary Donna Grems, Christy DeKing, Eric DeKing, Dave Jones, Sarah McQueen, Daniel Mabbett, Daniel Schwertfeger, Dean Yauger

It is the hope of our Believe 271 Foundation Inc. Board that you and your family had a wonderful Christmas together and we wish each of you a Happy New Year.

The Year 2022 review has brought us out of the darkness from the COVID related issues and allowed us to continue the mission that was developed by our resolute board members back in 2014. The success of our Foundation has been built upon the dedication of our past and current all volunteer Board members. This year we were excited to bring on board Director Dave Jones of the Newport Fire Department, thus strengthening our purpose in the northern end of Herkimer County. Dave brings untiring dedication to the fire service, his community and the CNY Stair Climb committee. Dave, Allison, and his family were instrumental this fall in our programs.

The growth of our Foundation would not be as successful if it were not for the outstanding support that we have received from so many. The Matthew and Lisa Wilsey family have been there for this Foundation, its mission and assisting those battling for their lives. They, along with the NYS Tool Company have been the main supporters of the NYS Tool Believe Bowl at Utica University. This year we honored two unselfish and dedicated volunteer firefighters: Chief John Stark Sr. of the Floyd Fire Department and Firefighter Tom Phelps, posthumously, of the Maynard Fire Department at this year’s 5th Annual Bowl Game. Just being there and seeing the interaction of the players, coaches and those being honored is something so many will remember for a lifetime. Thanks to Coach Blaise Faggiano, Athletic Dave Fontaine, President Laura Casamento for supporting this unique college football event for our volunteer firefighters in this area. Also, through the generous donation from the Wilsey family we once again presented 4- $500.00 scholarships in the name of Gregory Wilsey.

Thanks to the diligent and untiring work of Vice President Fred Sherman, he was able to write a grant to the “Dorothy Griffin Foundation” in Rome, NY. We received a $10,000 grant from them to be specifically used to support our mission. We want to thank the Dorothy Griffin Foundation for their fiscal donation to our Foundation. Fred, along with his team from Western FD sponsored our Annual Bowling Tournament at Vista Lanes in January and that was very successful once again. In keeping with our bowling, Board member Dean Yauger and his team from the Boonville FD, sponsored a bowling tournament that brought the battle of the North Country departments under one roof. Thanks to Dan Mabbett and the Herkimer County volunteers another Bowling Tournament was sponsored and again it was met with huge success. We look forward to their continued support of these events.

Our events continued in April with the Deerfield Fire Department’s Fish Fry for Believe. What can I say about the DFD family and their untiring support of this Foundation since its inception? Truly if you have never been to one of their fish fries, make it a point in 2023 to support those who support you. We then moved to an extraordinarily successful motorcycle ride, a Ride for Bud, sponsored by the local chapter of the Red Knights and co-sponsored by the Westmoreland Fire Department. Over 220 riders made the trek from Westmoreland FD, through the counties of Oneida, Herkimer, and Otsego on that beautiful first Saturday of June. Seeing SO MANY fire departments along the route, and the huge group of supporters in the Village of Mohawk during their Sale Days, Stars and Stripes draped from ladder trucks throughout, firefighter honor guards standing in front of their stations saluting the riders as they rode by, the escort of the Oneida and Herkimer County Sheriffs and the planned and guided route by Dave and Dana Olney was just amazing and the donation by Harley-Davidson made the day very successful. Hats off to Chief Jeff Grube and his volunteer firefighters who once again spent all day cooking for the riders upon their return.

Following the Ride, we prepared our merchandise for display at the NYSAFC Show in Syracuse in June. Thanks to those who supported us and a special thanks to the NYSAFC Chiefs and Sue Revoir for their hospitality throughout the event.

In July we were invited once again to the New Hartford Fire Department Truck Show where we were able to share our merchandise, present a gift to a volunteer firefighter in need and thank those that stopped by for their support. NHFD has been a long-time supporter since our inception, and we thank them for that.

Next, we are off to Bridgewater for the annual Bridgewater Believe 271 Walk Run coordinated by board members Christy and Eric DeKing and the team from Bridgewater FD. Thank you to all who participated in making this event very successful.

Next event on July 31st was the Believe 271/Robert LeBuis Memorial Golf Tournament. This tournament was renamed by our Board last fall in honor of our past Treasurer Emeritus Robert LeBuis. While we miss the guidance, meeting for breakfast or lunch at the Barneveld Diner and his fiscal intuition he shared with all of us, his name will, and always should, be tied to this golf tournament, a sport he loved to play. In 2023, we moved the 10th Annual golf tournament back to Twin Ponds Golf and Country Club in New York Mills, NY on Sunday, July 30th . We want to thank the 36 foursomes, the countless volunteers that helped us that day, and our sponsors for making this year’s golf tournament the best yet! I encourage those who want to play in this special 10th Anniversary event to get their reservations early as this one will fill up fast.

Following the tournament, we headed North to our friends at the Otter Lake FD for their annual Steak Bake. Thanks to past board member Jeff Abrial and Chief Scott Eisenhart and his family were are able to bring our merchandise trailer to this event.

Then off to Old Forge FD for their Drill School and our 4th annual Walk Run once again coordinated by board members Christy and Eric and the OFFD members and businesses. Thanks to all of you for making our trip to the Drill School and our Walk Run very successful.

When you thought it was time to relax, think again! This Foundation’s board went back to planning the Pink Tie Gala, an event that had been canceled previously due to the COVID Restrictions. This year the board took an innovative approach by forming a committee made up of volunteers beyond our board to assist in the planning of this event. These meetings were held at the Floyd Fire Station, and I can’t thank that team in Floyd for their help during these meetings. This PTG committee went above and beyond to make this event the best!! They worked tirelessly with our Board chasing down donations and sponsors, reorganizing our event items from previous years, decorating, running raffles and yes, how could I not mention Becca Pelletier-Ueltschi Photography for donating her efforts and producing some outstanding, social media ready photos. If you ever need a photographer, check her out on Facebook. Thank you to the 330 that attended this event and look for more information on the Pink Tie Gala 2023 being held on October 14, 2023, this fall.

The success of this Foundation has always been built on YOU, our volunteer fire departments, sponsors, Friends of Believe 271, our friends of Believe 31 who have attended many of our events, and those anonymous donations that are just sent to us in honor of someone near and dear to their hearts. Thanks to your generous support since our Foundation began nine years ago, we have been able to provide 101 checks to 79 different recipients giving out $341,274.00, in checks to firefighters and ladies auxiliary members in 37 different departments. In 2022 we provided $32,600.00 to 10 recipients with an average check being: $3,260.00.

Each of you are the backbone of our success. You have allowed those battling for their life against cancer and various life-threatening illnesses, and their families, to have hope. I am sure that those that read this end-of-year report know somebody they love, know somebody in their family or themselves that has battled cancer. It is not easy being diagnosed with cancer. No one wants to think that a cancer diagnosis will change your life forever. I did not want to fight the cancer treatments for seven weeks either, until I walked into the doors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and saw four children, wrapped in medical equipment being rolled on a hospital bed to get their treatments. Cancer has no limitations.

We are not going to stop chasing our mission of assisting those in need. It is through that love and support that YOU have for each other that has allowed us to continue this mission. Our Foundation has been recognized throughout this state and nation for the work that has been done and we will never give up so others can follow their dreams. We thank you and appreciate each and every one of you!!!!