Fairfield Fire Lt. Mark Harry received the David Felner Caregiver Award at the St. Vincent’s Swim Across the Sound Sports Gala & Auction held at Anthony’s Ocean View in New Haven. Harry was chosen from first responders across the state for his work with a Fairfield boy who was battling cancer.
The October obituary for the young resident cited among his life’s special events “a visit in a vintage fire truck from North Haven Fire Chief Tim Mayer accompanied by local firefighters from [Fairfield Fire] Station #3 on Jackman Avenue. A week later, Harry of Station #3 brought not only the pump truck from his station, but also the ladder truck from Station #2 on Jennings Road. The image of a small boy assertively directing six firefighters, two trucks, one hose and a fully extended ladder in his pajamas will not soon be forgotten.”
“We were returning from a call on Engine 3 when we saw master mechanic Rich Demko assisting a North Haven antique fire apparatus which was headed over to visit a local boy at his request through hospice,” Harry said. “We joined up with them and had the 7-year-old boy operating our hose line, and then made arrangements a week later for Ladder 2 to meet us at his home.”
A month later, the young boy succumbed to his illness, but not before his wish to become a fire fighter was realized by the initiative shown by the fire fighters.
Harry received recognition at the fund-raising event, which featured guest speaker Jim Calhoun, former University of Connecticut men’s basketball coach. Harry was introduced by his Fire Chief Richard Felner, in whose son’s name the award is given.
“I’ve worked with Mark and have known him for many years,” said Felner in his introduction. “Lt. Harry always looks out for other people, he’s always ready to help someone else and never looks for recognition or reward. Tonight my family and I are honored to present Mark this award in David Felner’s name. The bottom line is, if we had more people like Mark Harry in this world it would be a better place to live.”
In accepting the Caregiver Award, Harry thanked the Felner family and St. Vincent’s Medical Center “for all the work and money raised to cure cancer,” going on to “accept this award on behalf of myself, my crew — fire fighters Dave Mitkowski and Matt Pastir — and my fellow members of the Fairfield Fire Department in honor of David Felner and Adam Carvallo. Hopefully a cure for cancer will be discovered and the day will come when there will be no need to present this award.”