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Salute to Connecticut's Finest

The Connecticut District Exchange Clubs sponsor an annual ceremony
recognizing outstanding Police Officers from the numerous Connecticut communities in which local Exchange Clubs are active. The event is part of a program of service focusing on Crime Prevention. Police Officers are selected who represent high ideals and accomplishments in Crime Prevention. It is hoped that the recognition bestowed on these police officers will serve as an inspiration to those in the field to strive to similar ideals and thereby make a positive contribution to crime prevention activity in their communities.

The key selection criteria for a candidate in any particular year are not necessarily heroism, or spectacular crime solving. Police Officers active in their community in many ways have been honored. On a local level the selection process need only focus on the basic question, “If more police officers acted in the same manner as the recipient, would crime prevention in the community be furthered towards the ideals and goals of the community department?”

Thus, in many communities the selection process, as administered by the local police departments in conjunction with the local Exchange Club, is utilized as a tool to lead the departments by focusing on quality police officer role models.

Sixteenth Annual Salute to Connecticut's Finest
May 6, 2010
L-R: Officer William Maisano and Officer Scott Gardner

Officer William Maisano

Officer Maisano joined the Guilford Police Department in 1990 as a patrol officer.  Prior to joining the Guilford Police Department, Officer Maisano served for four years in the U. S. Air Force and also received his Bachelor's degree in education from Southern Connecticut State University.  Officer Maisano was born and raised in Guilford and currently resides here with his wife and two children.

Officer Maisano immediately expressed interest in being assigned as a DARE officer and realized that goal quickly in 1993.  Bill has served as a dedicated DARE officer for seventeen years, currently at the Baldwin Middle School teaching 5th grade DARE.  Officer Maisano exemplified what a DARE officer should be and is held in the highest regard by his students, his peers at Baldwin Middle School, his fellow officers and most certainly by Chief Terrible and the Board of Police Commissioners.

Officer Scott Gardner

Officer Gardner joined the Guilford Poice Department in 1994 as a patrol officer.  Prior to joining the Guilford Police Department, Officer Gardner served for one and a half years as a Law Enforcement Park Ranger for the National Park Police at the Statue of Liverty duty station.  He also earned his Bachelor's degree in legal studies from the University of massachusetts.  Officer Gardner is married with two children.

Officer Gardner became a DARE officer eleven years ago, initially teaching 5th grade DARE and continuing as an instructor in the 8th grade DARE program at Adams Middle School where he still teaches.  Officer Gardner also became certified as a School Resource Officer and has worked at the Guilford High School in that capacity for the last ten years.  Officer Gardner is a great ambassador for the SRO program and dedicates himself to the welfare of the students, teaching law classes, attending most extra-curricular events and advising on numerous student activities including SADD and project graduation.  Officer Gardner has wokred through several administrations at the Guilford High School and has been well regarded by them all.  Officer Gardner is a great example of an officer who is dedicated to his job and the children he is responsible for.  His exemplary work is recognized and appreciated by his students, school staff, fellow officers, Chief Terrible and the Board of Police Commissioners.

Seventeenth Annual Salute to Connecticut's Finest
May 26, 2011
L-R: Katie Smith, Regional VP, Detective Richard Perron & K-9 Gwen, Regina Kiernan, District President

Detective Richard "Rich" Perron joined the ranks of the Madison Connecticut Police Department after a distinguished 22 year career with the Connecticut State Police.  Detective Perron has worked in a variety of capacities for the state police, including narcotics, enforcement, undercover work and as part of a federal task force and has brought his tremendous assets to the Madison Police Department.  Not only has he used his expertise to help solve and prevent crimes, he has been a great mentor to the newer Madison officers.

Since the day he arrived, Detective Perron has worked tirelessly on multiple, critical investigations for the Town of Madison.  To date, Detective Perron and his narcotic canine "Gwen" have worked to counter the ever growing narcotic trends along the shoreline communities.

Detective Perron and Gwen have assisted multiple police and federal agencies in numerous investigations to date.  In addition to being an integral part of numerous investigations in Madison and dues to his numerous public speaking appearances at civic, school and police related events, his contact with the public is tireless.  Detective Perron has built a strong rapport with students and is an approachable, friendly representative of the Madison Police Department.  He is an outstanding police officer who serves the people of Madison with diligence and an unflagging desire to make a difference.

L-R: Sergeant Neal Mulhern, Detective Richard Perron, Carrie Burridge


Salute to Connecticut's Bravest
October 21, 2010

The Connecticut District Exchange Clubs sponsors an annual
ceremony recognizing outstanding Firefighters in Connecticut. Madison Exchange participates in this event by sending two firefighters from Madison Hose Company #1 and the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company. This elaborate ceremony is our way to thank these brave individuals for risking their lives for the safety and rescue of those in peril. Joining our two firefighters are their families and a large contingent of fellow company firefighters.  Member Bill Lawlor parked his vintage antique firetruck next to the Madison tables.




L-R: District President Regina Kiernan, Bob Komola's son, Regional VP Anne Marie Logue

Firefighter Robert Komola


Robert Komola had served as a volunteer fireman for the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company from 1995 to 2006 when he moved to downtown Madison and joined Madison Hose Co. #1 where he was an outstanding and active member until his sudden passing on April 15, 2010.

Besides volunteering for the fire departments, Bob was an Emergency Medical Technician working for many years with the Madison Ambulance Association and more recently as a professional Fire/EMS dispatcher for the Guilford Fire Department, taking 911 calls and dispatching emergency units to the scene in a calm and direct manner. His experience will be missed.

Every aspect of Bob's life was providing a service to our community and he took great pride in being a volunteer for the Madison Hose Company.  Bob served for over two years on the committee to replace our existing engine/tanker and attended meetings and planning sessions to bring the truck purchase to completion.  Our fire prevention committee will miss him at their annual visits to the elementary schools which he assisted with, and he was always the first to lend a hand to repair or clean equipment.  Bob was an active apparatus driver for the Hose Company.

Don MacMillan (right)

Deputy Chief Don MacMillan

Continuing a family tradition of service is Deputy Chief Don MacMillan who has nobly served our community and our country.  Donnie Mac has served the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company in a leadership role since he joined in 1993.  He continues to serve our country as Lieutenant Commander in the United States Naval Reserve, most notably with two deployments to the Mideast war zone.

During the past year, Donnie Mac  helped lead a humanitarian relief effort to the country of Haiti to aid earthquake victims.

Salute to Connecticut's Bravest
October 20, 2011

Doug Minges (center)

Deputy Chief Doug Minges

Doug Minges has been a valued asset to the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company for the past five years.  It is easy to see Doug's passion for the company through his hard work while leading and attending training exercises, his consistent and professional response to incidents, and his strong attendance at all fire company activities.  Doug has shown to be a solid leader while serving in the position of Fire Lieutenant.  This leadership style and commitment have been recognized by his peers as he was recently elected to the rank of Deputy Chief.  Doug has been an example of a member who tirelessly gives his time and talent to our community and truly exemplifies the "Spirit of the Company."

Salute to Connecticut's Bravest
October 16, 2014


VP Robert Gerard

Robert Gerard's love for the fire department began back in 1985 when he watched as a teenager the center of Madison burn.  He began his career in Madison as a junior firefighter. He worked his way to becoming a senior member soon after that.  Bob served as lieutenant, captain, and was the fire chief for ten years.  Currently, Bob is the vice president of the company.  We salute Bob because of his great leadership, kindness, and love for Madison Hose Company #1.  Congratulations from all of your fellow firefighters.

Lieutenant Chris Steines

Chris Steines joined the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company in November of 2010.  His previous experience and certification as an EMT made Chris a welcome addition to the Company.  He currently serves as a Lieutenant and EMS Coordinator, originally elected in 2012.  Managing the Company's EMS program, Chris is responsible for scheduling of responders, training, and acquisition of equipment/supplies.

Chris' knowledge and experience in electronics and IT has also proven to be a valuable asset to the company.  He manages the company’s website; has developed a bar code system for inventory management of the SCBA's, radios and pagers and has also lead the project of the CAD status display at the station allowing members direct access to upcoming events, announcements, calls for service, and system status.  Recently, Chris supervised the acquisition and installation of the new access control system that will now allow members easier and more reliable access to the station.  For the past three years, Chris has worked closely with the Rockland Preserve Committee organizing controlled burns on the property.  Chris is an officer, a firefighter, an EMS responder, and a friend of the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company. Chris' actions, in all respects, remain true to the Company motto "Neighbors Helping Neighbors."


Salute to Connecticut's Bravest
October 15, 2015
Firefighter Amanda Bernier

Amanda Bernier joined the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company in 2006, after graduating from the University of New Haven with a degree in Forensic Science.  It is no surprise that Amanda gravitated to the fire service since she comes from generations of firefighters including her father, brother, and grandfather.  Upon joining the company, she immediately took on responsibilities, becoming the explorer post advisor and the chair for the membership committee.  In these positions, she played a major role in member recruitment and retention.  She also served on the scholarship committee, making sure that high school students were able to pursue their dreams.

Ask anyone about Amanda and they will describe her as upbeat, cheerful and constantly smiling.  She never complained, never uttered an unkind word, and yet fit right into the firehouse culture.

As many of you know, Amada was diagnosed with a life altering illness at the same time that Chris and Amanda were blessed with the pregnancy of their first child, lovingly referred to as Peanut.  Despite the many challenges ahead, Amada approached the future with her persistent positive outlook on life.  Not once did she wallow in self pity.  Instead, she remained strong for Peanut, doing everything she could to ensure that the baby would be born healthy.

On 11/4/2014, Arabella Bernier was born, healthy, happy and adorable.

Amanda was presented with the 2015 North Madison Spirit of the Company award for the unwavering fortitude and courage she displayed throughout the course of her service and illness.  She has also brought a greater level of awareness in the community and beyond about the devastating effects of ALS and how we can help find a cure.  It will be obvious to anyone that has seen Arabella where she gets her infectious smile.