Post 229 Honors EMT and Firefighter of Year

Fire Chief Russell Brooks praises his firefighters and the post's "prestigious awards" during Post 229's awards ceremony. From left: Law-and-Order Chair Paul Wojcik, Chief Brooks, EMT Philip Taurisano, Firefighter Jeffrey Hogan, Commander Tony Palladino. MORE PHOTOS

A paramedic who participated in an international exchange and a firefighter who spent two tours of duty in Iraq as a U.S. Marine were honored by American Legion Post 229 as Emergency Medical Technician of the Year and Firefighter of the Year during ceremonies at the North Utica Post Thursday evening (Nov. 4, 2010). The honorees are:

  • EMT of the Year Philip Taurisano, a firefighter/paramedic who has been with the Utica Fire Department since Sept. 22, 2000. He became a paramedic in 2002.

  • Firefighter of the Year Jeffrey Hogan, who has been with the Utica Fire Department since March 27, 2007.

Philip Taursano & Jeffrey Hogan
Philip Taurisano (left) and Jeffrey Hogan
Calling them “two outstanding individuals,” Fire Chief Russell Brooks said during the awards presentation that they have demonstrated their dedication and courage every day they’re on the job.

Taurisano has been active in an exchange program with Polish paramedics. In 2008 he traveled to Poland and competed in the Polish International Paramedic Competition, taking first place. In 2007 he completed a Tactical Operational Medical Support Course in Texas; then, in 2008, he took and passed the Sequential Trauma Emergency Preparedness  class in Cairo, Egypt, and last year he completed the Critical Care Emergency Medical Transport Program at the University of Maryland.

“If you’re having chest pain, this is the guy you want there,” Chief Brooks quipped of Taurisano.

Hogan, a combat Marine reservist who served in Iraq from August 2004 to March 2005 and again from March 2009 to September 2009, is the first Utica firefighter to graduate from Mohawk Valley Community College’s Associate in Applied Science Fire Protection Technology Program (in May 2008). His academic performance gained him the President List’s Achievement Award. Then Hogan went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business management from Utica College.

It wasn’t any particular incident that got them nominated for the “prestigious American Legion awards,” Chief Brooks noted. “We measure them by how they perform every day,” he said, citing their courage, dedication and integrity.

Post Commander Anthony Palladino introduced Paul Wojcik, the post's law and order chair, to present the awards.

The awards ceremony followed a dinner attended by Legionnaires, auxiliary members, and the families of both honorees.  Taurisano was there with his girlfriend, Kim Schillaci of Rome; his parents, Phil and Katty Taurisano of New Hartford; his grandparents, Rose and Ed Gross of New Hartford; his sister, Courtney Sprague of New Hartford, and other family members and friends. Hogan was there with his new July bride, Michelle; his mother, Debra Hogan of Poughquag, NY; his brother, Brian, also of Poughquag; his mother and father-in-law, Jack and Sue Duncan of Camillus; his sister, Mallory, of Rochester; and other family members and friends.

Wojcik noted that Post 229 would submit the names of Taurisano and Hogan for the County level award.

Post 229 honors top firefighters every fall and a police officer of the year in the spring.