North East Joint Fire District
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Stephen H. Wright - 2020 Honoree - Webster Fairport Elks P.F.A. Recognition Dinner
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By NEJFD Executive Director Steven C. Small
February 9, 2020

The Webster-Fairport B.P.O. Elks Lodge No. 2396 held its 50th Annual Police, Fire and Ambulance Recognition Dinner on Thursday, February 6th. The Webster Volunteer Fire Department named Stephen H. Wright as their 2020 Honoree. The Recognition Dinner was held at the Penfield Country Club and was well attended by members of the Webster Volunteer Fire Department and the Wright Family. The award nomination read as follows:

The Webster Volunteer Fire Department and North East Joint Fire District are pleased to name Stephen H. Wright as our Webster-Fairport Elks 2020 honoree.

Stephen Wright has been a member of the Webster Volunteer Fire Department for 49 years. During his decades of distinguished service Steve has served in many leadership positions including Fire Chief, Department President and Deputy Coordinator of the Monroe County HazMat Team. During his tenure Chief Wright was an extremely competent and revered leader. Many of our Department’s leaders of today were mentored by Chief Wright. After his many years dedicated service as an active firefighter and fire service leader, Steve remained active with the department as a social member and as a member of the Webster Exempts.

In the early 2000’s there were preliminary discussions on the consolidation fire resources in the far northeast portion of Monroe County. These discussions progressed into the formation of a Consolidation Committee in which Steve Wright was named the Chairman of. The Consolidation Committee, under the guidance and leadership of Chairman Wright, worked tirelessly for several years to coordinate and complete the consolidation of the Village of Webster Fire Department, the Northeast Penfield Fire District and the East Webster Fire Protection District. This major effort was prior to New York State enacting legislation streamlining the lengthy consolidation process. On January 1, 2005, after thousands of hours of dedicated work, countless meetings, public hearings, and a successful public referendum, the North East Joint Fire District was born. The first Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners was Stephen H. Wright. In fact, up to 3 months ago, Steve Wright had been the first and only Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners.

The consolidation of multiple emergency service entities is a monumental task. However, some of the hardest work came after the actual consolidation. The newly formed fire district was faced with an aging apparatus fleet, a literally crumbling main fire station and a looming shortage of volunteer firefighters. The NEJFD was a new fire district faced with a multitude of challenges and no reserve funds. Obviously this is very problematic. The newly formed Board of Fire Commissioners were faced with many very difficult responsibilities to meet. Under Steve Wright’s leadership the District pressed forward through all of the struggles, setbacks and difficult decisions. With a strong management team in place and with the full support of the Webster Volunteer Fire Department, the District set on a mission to professionalize, modernize and properly train and equip the District’s volunteer firefighters to the highest of standards.

Fast forward fifteen years. The night isn’t long enough to outline all of the District’s accomplishments under Chairman Wright’s leadership. What can be briefly outlined is that under his stewardship, the District has progressed immensely and is fortunate to have three modern and well-equipped fire stations, an exceptional apparatus fleet, an extremely dedicated, well trained and equipped volunteer firefighter force and an excellent long-range financial plan.

The North East Joint Fire District is now positioned among the finest fire districts in the region. This accomplishment does not happen by accident. It requires a deep sense of caring, integrity, resolve and dedication beyond the norms. Chairman Wright practiced all of these qualities and invested himself in the District’s future. His enormous efforts have benefited all of the firefighters of the Webster Volunteer Fire Department and ultimately our community is safer as a result.

Last October, after fifteen years as Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners, Commissioner Steve Wright retired. Steve is continuing his service to the District serving as the District Treasurer. Our District is extremely fortunate to have Steve at the helm of the District’s finances and financial planning for the future. The service award that was presented to our retiring Chairman on October 15, 2019 read as follows:

Bestowed Upon Stephen H. Wright:

For Your Unparalleled Leadership, Wisdom And Integrity While Serving As The Original Chairman Of The Board Of Fire Commissioners. The Local First Responder Community And Our Citizenry Are Forever Indebted To You For Your Service And Accomplishments Which Have Made Our Community A Safer Place To Live. Your Leadership Legacy Of Responsible Foresight, Accountability And Courage To Make The Correct Decisions Have Fostered The Guiding Foundational Principles That Have Become The Professional Fabric Of This Organization.

From everyone at the Webster Volunteer Fire Department and the North East Joint Fire District. Steve….….We are better firefighters having served under your command, ….. we are better leaders having been mentored by you, ….. we are a better Department and a better District having been fortunate enough to have grown under your influence. We love and respect you. From all of your extended firefighting family, a well-deserved congratulations!!


Comment Comment 1 Comment(s)

Bud Phillips February 13, 2020 at 1:12 PM
Congratulations Steve




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