More than 50 years as a firefighter with the Saugerties Fire Department. Captain of the C.A. Lynch Hose Company. Chief of the Saugerties Fire Department. President of the Saugerties Fire Department’s Exempt Fire Association. If anyone is worthy of having a fire truck named in his honor, it’s Ernest R. Dunn, Sr., who died July 18 at the age of 76.
On Sept. 22, a special memorial service was held by the fire department, and Ernie, as he was known to his friends, had the Exempt association’s truck named in his honor.
The truck carries the department’s cascade unit, which is used to fill Scott air packs that firefighters use while battling a blaze, as well as a generator, lights, a portable pump, medical equipment, and equipment for the department’s fire police. It now carries a plaque in honor of Ernie.
Ernie joined the fire department on 1959, just after he married his childhood sweetheart Judy, who died in 2003. They worked as butchers at the Grand Union.
During their long marriage, the couple had several children, who had several children, many of whom attended the dedication ceremony, said James Gage, a firefighter, close friend of Ernie, and the man responsible for getting the department to dedicate the truck in his friend’s honor. Judy shared Ernie’s love for the fire department, serving as an active member of the ladies auxiliary.
“He was with the department a long time,” Gage said.
After joining, Dunn rose up through the ranks to captain in 1962 and became chief of the Saugerties Fire Department in 1972, back when terms were only one-year. He was a life member of the Saugerties Fire Dept., a 27-year member and president of the Saugerties Exempts Fire Association, a past president of the Ulster County Fireman’s Association, and a 50-year member of the Hudson Valley Fireman’s Association.
“It’s important that we honor our heritage and those who have served,” said current Fire Chief Dave Mason. “He did what I’m doing and I hope that when it’s my time, I get recognition as well.”
“On July 18, 2013 the roll of the Saugerties Fire Department was called and one firefighter did not answer,” Gage said. “Ernest R. Dunn, Sr., had answered his last alarm. May he rest in peace.”