TOWN OF NORTH EAST – The Millerton Fire Company recently celebrated a service anniversary for member Bernie Silvernail. Mr. Silvernail marked his 70th year of service with the department. The 88-year-young Silvernail joined the department in 1950 and still responds to at least 100 calls each year.
Silvernail joined the department, he said, because his father was a firefighter. When he first joined, the company fire engine was a 1937 Ahrens-Fox. Today, the modern engine run by the company is a 2019 Rosenbauer Warrior. When asked what the biggest change he has seen in the fire service is, Silvernail said The trucks are much more reliable and better built and the equipment is much better.”
Silvernail said the most memorable blaze he responded to was the Phil Gas fire on Route 22. The blaze lasted three days and nights. In his seventy-year career, the seasoned first-responder has answered more than 14,000 calls for help by the community. Silvernail, who exhibits no signs of slowing down, says that he was raised with the values that the community is family and you should be willing to help others. “There’s nothing better than being in the fire service – it’s a brotherhood.”
Company Chief Jason Watson praised Silvernail’s dedication. “Bernie still responds to every call he can as a member of the fire police. He’s always there to direct traffic. If he misses a call, he apologizes for not making it. Barry’s tenure in the department is an incredible accomplishment.”
Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver, a resident of neighboring Pine Plains, said “Bernie is the type of person who personifies small-town America. The place where serving your community for 70 years, in the Fire Department, is a way of life. Every day, Bernie and others make our community special. Being honored is only a small way we can thank him.”