On Sunday, October 18, I had the pleasure of covering a story at the Mineola Fire Station. The Junior Fire Department was hosting a pancake breakfast and all proceeds were donated to the victims of Hurricane Sandy in the surrounding communities. A volunteer firefighter himself, Scott Strauss came to the event in support of a program he was once part of. He graciously sat down with me for an interview despite his duties at the event.
JMR:Thank you for sitting down for this interview, Mayor Strauss. Could explain your ties to the department and this event?
SS:I’ve been a volunteer firefighter for 31 years and I’ve lived in Mineola for 48 years, since I was only a year old. I was a junior firefighter when I was 14 and joined when I was 18. I can’t say no to this department and this fantastic program.
JMR:What are your responsibilities here and now?
SS:Well, today I’m here to cook pancakes, but I support this group and help out whenever I can. My son Brian is now the advisor to the junior program, and my other son Tyler came from college to help out today.
JMR: Would you mind sharing how this storm has affected you personally?
SS: We were lucky; we were only without power for five days. These firefighters are all volunteers that left their families to come here and respond to emergency calls.
JMR: So how have you handled the situation as Mayor?
SS: My real job is not mayor. I am also Corporate Director of Security and Emergency Management in the North Shore Long Island Health System. I’m also a volunteer firefighter. The community as a whole is more important than my position.
JMR: As far as the junior fire department goes, how has it changed since you were with them in your teens?
SS: It is a lot more active. They are a part of the family. They are a huge resource to have in the department. They train, respond to calls, and help out every time.
JMR: Thank you very much for your time. To wrap up, what would you like to say to the members of the Mineola Community?
SS: Mother Nature unleashed her fury on the south shore of Long Island, but it didn’t break the human spirit. It made us stronger. The Mineola Community is a great group of people, and they support the wonderful fire department in all that they do. It is a community full of pride and spirit.