State Senator James L. Seward today announced that Duane Edward Testut of Freeville has been selected as a 2008 New York State Senate "Volunteer of Valor."
"I am proud to honor Duane Testut as a Volunteer of Valor and prouder still of the recognition he has earned from his colleagues at the department, neighbors and friends for his dedication to the Dryden community," said Senator Seward, chairman of the Senate Majority Task Force on Emergency Volunteer Services.
Testut was honored today (June 10) at the state capital, where his photograph and biography will be displayed in a special public exhibit at the Legislative Office Building.
Testut has dedicated over five decades of exceptional service as a fire department volunteer in the Ithaca and Dryden communities. Testut has been a member of the Varna Volunteer Fire Company (VVFC) since 1962. He volunteered in the Ithaca Fire Department from 1953-1961, achieving the rank of lieutenant.
Testut has served the Varna Volunteer Fire Company as captain, fire chief, board member, treasurer and currently serves as secretary and the fire chief’s administrative assistant. He was named "Top Responder of 2007" by the department, and has responded to more than 50 percent of all emergency calls of VVFC in the last six years. Testut has earned numerous awards in his tenure.
After Testut retired from IBM, he was one of the principal members of the Varna Volunteer Fire Company responding to calls, when most members were on work or delayed from coming.
"Duane is one of those success stories that we can proudly share with our community, sacrificing his time to help others in times of great need and is an example of excellence in our community," said Senator Seward. "His name now joins that of other men and women whose accomplishments, sacrifices and deeds on behalf of others are deserving of special honor. As chairman of the Senate Task Force on Emergency Volunteer Services, I have deep respect for the volunteers and first responders who answer the siren’s call year-in, year-out, at all times of the day, to protect our lives and our property."
Testut, nominated for the honor by Fire Chief Roy Rizzo and Board Chair Wendy Hoose, is six-time recipient of the "Varna Firefighter of the Year" award and a veteran of the U.S. Navy.
He lives in Freeville with his wife Claudette.
The senate’s "Volunteers of Valor " program honors New York men and women whose selfless contributions, commitments to their communities and personal achievements serve as an example to all New Yorkers.