Charles O’Connor Jr., a 41-year member of the Mastic Beach Fire Department, was chosen as the Suffolk County “Volunteer of Distinction” for the Third Legislative District.

O’Connor, who is on the department’s board of directors, is a past Fireman of the Year and earned the Chief’s Award, as well as numerous Chief Driver of the Year awards. 

“Charles has always been willing to go above and beyond for his department and community,” said Legis. Rudy Sunderman, who represents the district. “Congratulations on this well-deserved honor and thank you for your service and dedication.”

The Suffolk County Legislature in 2001 established a volunteer recognition program for firefighters and EMS personnel and designated October as Volunteer Recognition Month in Suffolk County. The program allows each county legislator to honor one volunteer in his or her district for outstanding service as a first responder.

While O’Connor was selected as the overall Volunteer of Distinction for the Third Legislative District, other nominees submitted for consideration by their departments included John Siebert of the Mastic Beach Ambulance Company, Mike Montauban of the Mastic Ambulance Company, Anthony Verni of the Brookhaven Fire Department, Gary Pils of the Bellport Fire Department, Sheila Skidmore of the Yaphank Fire Department, Christian Gross of the Mastic Fire Department and Christopher Steel of the Manorville Fire Department.

“Volunteers go above and beyond, taking time away from their families and putting their lives on the line in order to help the community,” Sunderman said. “While this recognition singles out individuals for their exemplary work within the past calendar year, it is also important to remember that all volunteers deserve recognition for making their community a safer place to live.”

Charles O’Connor Jr., center, was chosen as the Suffolk County “Volunteer of Distinction” for the Third Legislative District