Carol Niewadomski lights a candle for her deceased husband Fire Police Patrol Ex-Capt. Jan Niewadomski, who died Sept. 5, 2019. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead volunteer firefighters turned out for the Riverhead Fire Department’s annual memorial service and inspection at department headquarters yesterday morning.

The annual service, typically held in May, was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was postponed this year for the same reason.

The department’s 166 volunteers, wearing their dress uniforms, assembled in their companies on the floor of the headquarters bays where fire trucks and apparatus are normally parked.

Following a moment of silence, the names of the nine Riverhead Fire Department members who passed away since the last memorial service in May 2019 were read aloud. A bell was rung after each name was read and family members of the deceased firefighter came forward to light a candle in their loved one’s memory.

The members honored during yesterday’s ceremony were:

Ex-Captain Norman (Skip) Beal II (May 20, 2021)
Reliable Hose & Engine Co. #1

Ex-Chief and Ex-Commissioner William (Chilly) Conklin (Aug. 10, 2019)
Reliable Hose & Engine Co. #1

Ex-Captain Leon J. Jasinski Sr. (June 17, 2019)
Reliable Hose & Engine Co. #1

Firefighter Francis P. Davis (March 10, 2021)
Reliable Hose & Engine Co. #1

Ex-Captain Joseph C. Pipczynski (Feb. 17, 2021)
Eagle Hose Co. #4

Firefighter William Hubbard (July 17, 2021)
Red Bird Hook & Ladder Co. #1

Ex-Captain Allen M. Smith (July 25, 2020)
Red Bird Hook & Ladder Co. #1

Ex-Captain Jan Niewadomski (Sept. 5, 2019)
Fire Police Patrol Co. #1

Arthur Breen (Jan. 1, 2020)
Riverhead Exempts

After the last candle was lit, taps was played to conclude the solemn ceremony.

Then Chief William Kelly administered the oath of service to the active members of department and company captains conducted their roll call.

Finally the commissioners and chiefs of the department conducted the annual inspection.

The Rev. Mary Cooper of House of Praise Christian Church gave the benediction. Fire Department Chaplain Justin Winter Sr. read Psalm 23 before the memorial ceremony and gave the benediction at the service’s conclusion. Ladies Auxiliary Chaplain Kathleen Berezny read the Firefighter’s Memorial Hymn before the memorial ceremony and the Firefighters Prayer at the conclusion of the service. Fire Police Patrol Company Ex-Capt. Baycan Fideli served as master of ceremonies.

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Denise Civiletti

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.