The West Sayville Fire Department’s crack drill team, the Flying Dutchmen, have claimed a second victory this firematic competition season with a first place finish in the 10th Annual Joseph Hunter Memorial Drill held in Hempstead on Tuesday, evening, July 3, 2012.  Scoring a total of 20½ points in the eight contest tournament, the Flying Dutchmen ultimately edged out the second place Central Islip Hoboes by 2½ points and the third place Piston Knockers from North Lindenhurst by five. The combined Hempstead Yellow Hornets-South Hempstead Rascals team and the West Hempstead Westerners filled out the last two spots of the top five finishers with a tie for fourth place overall with thirteen points apiece. In all, thirteen volunteer fire departments from around Long Island had teams in the competition.

The annual drill is run each year to perpetuate the memory of Firefighter Joseph Hunter, a volunteer with the South Hempstead Fire Department and a career firefighter with Squad 288 of the Fire Department of the City of New York until making the supreme sacrifice on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center. The drill also serves as a means of sustaining the memorial fund established in his name shortly after his passing, which now is the source of yearly contributions towards scholarships offered in his name at South Side High School in Rockville Centre and Hofstra University. Additionally, the memorial fund is used to provide financial assistance to volunteer firefighters and their families if such a need arises.

Joe Hunter has been described as the firefighter’s firefighter. He fulfilled a childhood dream by volunteering with the South Hempstead Fire Department and then enhanced that dream through his appointment to the New York City Fire Department. If you could say he had a greater passion than firefighting it would have to be his participation in firematic competition with the South Hempstead Rascals Drill Team. A dedicated team member who always gave 100 percent and then some is likely best remembered for his exceptional skill as the hydrant man on his team; the best in Nassau County as many often say. Despite the tragedy of his loss, his dream lives on, in part, due to this annual drill.

Participation in the Joseph Hunter Memorial Drill is by invitation only. Teams scoring points in the prior year’s statewide competition are eligible to enter and traditionally do. The order of running is set by how well a team does and starts out with the number one spot being given to the defending New York State Champions, in this instance the Flying Dutchmen. The remaining spots are set by the place each team ended up overall in the state drill

West Sayville started off the evening at a three point deficit after the Three Man Ladder contest but immediately reversed that in the next contest, B Ladder, with a first place effort. Thereafter the Flying Dutchmen remained in the top spot with its lead varying from one and one-half points to as much as six and one-half points at the end of the ladder events. Ultimately the West Sayville team had enough points accumulated by the end of the seventh contest, Motor Pump, to clinch the win without regard for their or any other team’s efforts in the Buckets contest. It was the third time the team has walked away with the top honors in the drill’s short history.

The Flying Dutchmen earned their points in the tournament with first place finishes in B Ladder (5.14 seconds) and Motor Pump (6.55 seconds); a tie for first place in the C Ladder contest (9.16 seconds); second place in the B Hose event (8.26 seconds) and a fourth in Three Man Ladder (6.50 seconds).
On Saturday, July 14, the West Sayville Flying Dutchmen will be traveling to Brookhaven Town Firemen's Park in Ridge to compete in the annual Suffolk County Volunteer Firemen’s Association motorized drill, hosted this year by the Selden Fire Department.  Nearly a dozen and half volunteer fire departments from Suffolk County are presently signed up to participate in the day long tournament which is scheduled to kickoff at 9:00 a.m. The association’s annual parade along Middle Country Road in Selden will follow the drill with a start time set at 6:00 p.m.

The 2012 Flying Dutchmen Drill Team is coached by Frank R. Miller, Sr. and G. Scott Schrader and comprised of Captain Gary A. Schaum, Lieutenant Ryan Tenney, David Banks, Kristy Banks, Patrick Garrett, Michael Heerbrandt, Ryan Huguenin, Chad Leigh-Manuell, Michael Marra, Robert Marra, Frank R. Miller, Jr., Allen Newhouse, Robert Noonan, Richard Quenzer, Joseph Quenzer, Douglas Quenzer and Daniel Tenney.