A huge crowd turned out for the Southold Fire Department’s annual steak dinner fundraiser on Saturday night. Guests enjoyed marinated shell steak grilled outdoors, rolls, salad, baked potatoes, baby carrots,
cake, wine and beer.
Reflecting on the brotherhood that creates lifelong bonds as men and women selflessly dedicate themselves to the community, Chief William Byrnes said, “This is about teamwork. Men and women coming together to get the job done. It’s very fulfilling.”
Second Assistant Chief James Rich added, “This is the heart of the community, right here.”
Reflecting on his years of service, Chief Byrnes, who will step down in April after six years as Chief, said the experience has been one of the most memorable of his lifetime.
“It’s right up there with getting married and having my kids,” he said.
Firefighters, he said, share a brotherhood, and turn out to support one another without fail, whether it be at fundraisers or facing a life-and-death situation. At Saturday’s Steak Night, fellow volunteers from Greenport, Orient and Cutchogue, among others, turned out in force to share laughter, memories, and a delicious dinner with lifelong friends and comrades.
“This is the core of Southold, right here,” Chief Byrnes said.
A photo tribute was set up at the event for Frank Locrotondo, a 20 year veteran of the Southold Fire Department who lost his life recently.
Losing his colleague and friend, Chief Byrnes said, “hit me hard.”
Over 175 firefighters turned out, with over 65 in full uniform, to say good-bye to Locrotondo at his funeral services.
The spirit of brotherhood, of loyalty, of trust, Chief Byrnes said, “is hard to describe. This is about everyone coming together, and doing what needs to be done, to get the job done. It’s about teamwork.”