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Bethlehem first responders honored

Annual townwide ceremony calls out those who went above and beyond

Bethlehem’s first responders were honored Monday, March 3, at the annual Community Awards event presented by the Nathaniel Adams Blanchard American Legion Post 1040 in Bethlehem. The awards are given annually to members of the town’s police, fire and EMS who showed exemplary service throughout the prior year.

Bethlehem’s first responders were honored Monday, March 3, at the annual Community Awards event presented by the Nathaniel Adams Blanchard American Legion Post 1040 in Bethlehem. The awards are given annually to members of the town’s police, fire and EMS who showed exemplary service throughout the prior year. Photo by Marcy Velte.

— Bethlehem’s first responders were honored Monday, March 3, at the annual Community Awards event presented by the Nathaniel Adams Blanchard American Legion Post 1040 in Bethlehem.

The awards ceremony is held each year to recognize a member from each of the town’s first response companies who went “above and beyond the call of duty.” Awards and proclamations were given out to a total of 11 companies and departments.

“This is the time we in the American Legion honor our emergency personnel in grateful recognition of your devotion to the duty, and in appreciation for the contributions to public safety in the Town of Bethlehem,” said Post Commander Al Hofaker, who served as marshal of the event.

Bethlehem Supervisor John Clarkson helped present the awards, while Albany County Executive Dan McCoy gave proclamations to each award recipient. A representative was sent on behalf of state Sen. Neil Breslin, with Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple also in attendance.

Bethlehem Police Lt. Thomas Heffernan Jr. presented the award for Police Officer of the Year on behalf of Chief Louis Corsi. This year’s award was presented to all of the detectives on the Special Services Unit for their efforts in solving a number of notable investigations over the past 12 months. Those include arrests made in several bank robberies, an armed home invasion, several cases of identity theft from a local restaurant and a lottery scam against the elderly.

“The Special Services Unit was responsible for the seizure and recovery of over a half of a million dollars in stolen property, cash and assets during the investigations taking place over the past 12 months,” said Heffernan. “Detectives were also responsible for investigating 838 cases, which resulted in over 150 arrests.”

The town’s fire departments also presented awards to the fire fighters who helped save the life of an elderly Slingerlands woman whose home caught fire in September. Slingerlands Fire Chief Brian Sleurs said the fire officers were informed of the fire by a resident who reported a structure fire across from the Slingerlands Post Office. The base then radioed fire control.

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