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Guillily retires as fire chief, honored for commitment to the job

WEST CHAZY When its 3 a.m. and a call goes out for firefighter support, Anthony Tony Guillily wont need to be the first one out the door but that wont stop him if someone is in need. Guillily has officially retired as fire chief for the West Chazy Volunteer Fire Department after holding the position for 21 years, the longest of any in his department. While the firefighting veteran has relinquished control of the helm, hes not going anywhere. Im still going to be in the department, I just wont have to be the first to respond to a call, said Guillily, laughing. The 73-year-old has spent the majority of his adult life with the department, joining in 1968. A recent transplant from the Glens Falls area at the time, Guillily was surprised with how the department welcomed him and made him feel at home. They took me right in, Guillily said. It wasnt long before he became president of the department, a position he held for 14 years. He then served one year as first assistant chief before beginning his career as chief that spanned two decades of responding to house fires, motor vehicle accidents and any other calls for assistance that went out. I always wanted to be a fireman, ever since I was a little kid, recalled Guillily. I just never thought in a million years that Id ever become a chief. What was equally surprising for Guillily was a brief recognition ceremony held at the fire department May 1. During the ceremony, members of his department, including those of neighboring departments in Chazy and Beekmantown, and the West Chazy Fire District Board of Commissioners thanked Guillily and presented gifts to him for his years of service. Chazy Town Supervisor Staub C. Spiegel was among those to speak to the value of Guillilys service and commitment to the town, presenting Guillily with a plaque and proclamation from the town council. We really appreciate men and women who can get up in the middle of the night even when its 20 below zero, said Spiegel. Its just such a thrill to have people like you that are hard-working and who want to dedicate time to the community ... Your dedication to the protection of the lives and properties in our community will serve as an inspiration to those who will follow in your footsteps. Guillilys dedication has extended beyond town boundaries and across the county, said Kelly C. Donoghue, assistant director of the Clinton County Office of Emergency Services, who also made a presentation to Guillily. If you look up volunteerism in the dictionary, you dont have to go too far because a picture of you is probably going to be next to it, Donoghue said to Guillily. Forty years of service in the community thats a testament to your hard work and your dedication. Im honored to have known you as chief. One thing Ill say for Tony is that he understands the responsibility, he understands what he needs to do, and he sticks to his guns, said Jim Kelly, chairman of the fire district board of commissioners. Its been a real pleasure to have a chief who really tries to work within the system and knows how to work around the system to get what he wants. In addition to a plaque on behalf of the board of Commissioners, Kelly presented Guillily with a citation for service from state Assemblywoman Janet L. Duprey, R-Peru, who was unable to attend the event. However, the conclusion of the ceremony included recognition which had the most visible emotional effect on Guillily. He was presented with the departments 2008 Firefighter of the Year award and the badge he had turned in upon marking his retirement as chief. Guillily was informed the department was retiring his badge as another sign of their appreciation of his service. I really believe I belong to one of the best fire departments in New York State. Theyve always been behind me and I would put them against any department, said Guillily. Ive always said if I asked them to walk through a wall, the only thing theyd ask is Which one?'"

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