By Wild Harmony
Chief of EMS for the CL Fire Dept / EMT
Commissioner for the CL Fire District
Assistant Director of the Food Pantry in Star Lake that serves Clifton Fine region
What brought you to Cranberry Lake? When? When you first came, did you think you’d end up staying here?
I have lived here my whole life — born in the Clifton Fine Hospital. I graduated from Clifton Fine with honors and joined the Army and then returned to college at North Country Community College and then became a Corrections Officer for 32 years. I lived away until I retired when I moved home in 2011.
What was your first volunteer activity?
My first volunteer role here was a fireman here before retirement on the weekends and days off. And then, it’s been mostly the fire department, St Hubert’s Church and the Food Pantry. I pressure wash the docks etc – whatever Phil Guardino and Father Jay Seymour need.
How many volunteer jobs have you had here?
Fireman – Fireman of the Year in 2015, EMS
I’ve helped many other projects including helping senior citizens by checking in and making sure they have what they need. I do a lot for the fire department including all the events and the Auxilliary events. I maintain the building. I coordinated the 911 signs when we installed them. I keep track of all the vehicle maintenance. I do what needs doing.
I also volunteered at the nursing home in Tupper Lake and take the ladies our for tea or watch ballgame with the men. Senior citizens are isolated and I try to show up for them.
Why do you volunteer?
It makes me feel good. I like to help people and I like them to feel that someone cares.
Who Inspires Me Here:
I think Deacon Phil Guardino is amazing. He tries to help everyone and I want to grow up to be him…. Which is only about ten years away.
I really appreciate Scott McWharf, Chuck and Deb Yartz, Mike Dolan who has now moved away and Mary Hunter who has since moved to Star Lake with her daughter. I appreciate what Nick Hunter does. Roger and Anita Backus have always helped people here – quietly and behind the scenes. I loved Jeanne Reynolds and Gordon Taylor. Both lovely people who did a lot for Cranberry Lake.
Why are you still here in Cranberry Lake now that you’ve retired?
I love it here. I love the people and my famlly is here. When I die I want to be cremated and sprinkled around the fire department, the church, wherever I can be here I want to be.
What are the best memories you have of Cranberry?
All the fun – growing up here, all the people, ball games behind the Community Center, snowmobiling, boating, jet skiing, being able to help.
What do you hope for the future here?
I hope we can be revitalized – and by that I mean some new businesses like a restaurant, a craft outlet, anything that promotes tourism and helps keep young people here. We are losing our best asset – our young people. I know we aren’t unique but we need to solve this problem for ourselves.