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Press Release

Publish Date: 11/7/2014

County Executive Schedules First Responders Appreciation Dinner

Event gives thanks to servicemen & women, "First Responder of the Year" will be awarded

FONDA - Executive Matthew L. Ossenfort has announced the inaugural Appreciation Dinner for First Responders in Montgomery County. The event will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 19, at the Winner's Circle, in Fonda. The event is a small way to give back and recognize those everyday heroes who continually show up in the face of danger because they are committed to serving others.

"I am excited about beginning this tradition in Montgomery County, which pays respect to those who are on the front lines and gives thanks to those who serve," Ossenfort said. "We can never say thank you enough for the great job all of the First Responders do on a daily basis to keep us all safe and protected."

One nominee from each branch of Fire/Police/EMS departments will be honored as the "First Responder of the Year". All of the nominees will be recognized at the event. Nominations were provided last month by chiefs and directors of people in their departments who have consistently gone above and beyond, putting service before self.

Here are the nominees:

  • William Ehrenreich (Fort Plain Fire Department)
    • William has been part of the department for eight years, joining immediately after the flood of 2006. He has held the role of Assistant Chief, Lieutenant and Captain. William fixes equipment attends calls, drills and meetings regularly and is someone the department counts on with important tasks.
  • Jack Hentnik (Cranesville Fire Department)
    • Jack has been an active member of the department for 37 years and has held many positions, including Chief for four years. Jack is one of the most respected members of the department and is available day or night.
  • Jason Nare (Montgomery County Sheriffs Office)
    • Jason has been working with the Sheriffs Office for 16 years, excelling in any assignment he is tasked with. Jason has also been a K-9 Officer for 12 years and has been credited with helping solve numerous criminal investigations. Jason has become a terrific ambassador for the Sheriffs Office to the people of the county.
  • Susan Oevering (Charleston Fire Department)
    • Susan has been a member of the department for five years, attending meetings, countless hours of training, involved in fundraisers and the annual banquet. She has inspired her two children to become junior firefighters and always makes patients feel comfortable and reassurances them on calls.
  • Eduardo Ortiz (Amsterdam Police Department)
    • Eduardo has served his entire career with integrity, receiving numerous accolades from his superiors and peers. Eduardo has worked as a policeman in the county since 1991 and been with the Amsterdam department since 1995. He served in the U.S. Army from 1979-89 and was a member of the Army National Guard & Air National Guard, twice being deployed to Iraq.
  • Josh Salher (Fultonville Fire Department)
    • Josh has been active in the department for two years and attends training, responds to fire calls, while attending school and holding a part-time job. Josh has also taken on an active roll in organizing fundraisers for the department.
  • Jeffrey L. Smith (Saint Johnsville Police Department)
    • Jeff fully exemplifies the motto "To Protect and Serve". He has gone out of his way to meet the needs of residents, one example of his dedication and commitment to the profession.
  • Justin Smith (Greater Amsterdam Volunteer Ambulance Corps)
    • Justin is a paramedic supervisor, a volunteer firefighter with the Fort Plain Department and a part-time 911 dispatcher with the Montgomery County Sheriffs Office. Justin has become a leader on his shift, developed plans for better ambulance coverage and handled himself with poise in stressful situations.

"Falling between Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, this is a perfect way to recognize what First Responders do on a daily basis," said Montgomery County Legislative Chairman Thomas L. Quackenbush. "I hope this event becomes an annual way to thank them for the services they perform for the residents of the county.

The event is open to everyone in the county and First Responders are especially invited to attend. Nominees and their guests are complimentary. Tickets will be on sale at the event for $20. Please RSVP to the Executive Office at 518-853-4304 or to