CARMEL, N.Y. - The Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department paid tribute to the doctors, nurses and staff members of Putnam Hospital Center ER and ICU last week for the work they’re doing during the pandemic. A caravan of emergency vehicles descended upon the hospital on April 7 to deliver some free hot meals to the medical personnel.

In addition, last Saturday, April 13, several Putnam County Departments, including the Mahopac Falls Volunteer Fire Department, joined in another tribute to hospital personnel. 

MVFD Chief Jim Stasiak said the Mahopac Fire Department’s tribute was the brainchild of Second Assistant Chief Gabe Rivera and department Vice President Lou Scagnelli.

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“They came to me and said local businesses are suffering; the nurses and doctors are stressed—let’s do something for everyone,” Stasiak said. “They approached the Board of Commissioners and said, ‘We will find a vendor that will give us the best bang for our buck. The idea was to help the hospital and a local business. Two birds with one stone.”

That business turned out to be Four Brothers Pizza in Mahopac.

“Lou [Scagnelli] is friends with the Four Brothers’ owner,” Stasiak said. “He reached out to them, and they said they would love to do it and wanted to get on board right away.”

The fire department delivered 50 meals to the hospital staffers, many of whom came out to greet the first responders who also gave them a round of applause.

Scagnelli gave a short, but poignant speech outside the emergency room to the employees who were able to come outside. Unfortunately, some were not able to come out to hear it because of the critical patients they were tending to inside. 

“My job was just to coordinate the manpower to take over four different rigs to the hospital and park them at the hospital and leave their lights on,” Stasiak said. “Probably about 15 nurses came out.”

Stasiak said the first responders at MVFD have a tight relationship with the ER staff at Putnam Hospital, so it was an emotional moment.

“We deal with the ER constantly,” he said. “They are our first point of contact. We have members who worked for the hospital and who used to be security guards there. There are ties and friendships that run deeper than what people probably know.”

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