Chautauqua Children’s Safety Education Village announces Gala Award recipients

MAYVILLE — Shining a light on local heroes, the Chautauqua Children’s Safety Education Village has announced its award recipients for their first annual Gala Dinner and Auction which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 at Chautauqua Suites in Mayville.

An awards ceremony is part of the evening festivities where three local individuals will be honored for the impact they have had on our community and the lives around them.

The first award being given is the Ron Keddie Award for Excellence in the Fire Service. This award honors those who have unselfishly contributed to the greater good by dedicating themselves to fire safety and saving the lives of others. It is to commemorate their exemplary talents and unselfish acts in the field, leadership, compassion and dedication. This award has been named after Ron Keddie who passed away on June 27, 2012 at the age of 64. Ron was a New York State Fire Instructor as well as the Chautauqua County Fire Service Training Coordinator. He had a passion for fire service that was difficult to rival. He attempted to instill that passion in all of his students as well as in anyone else who would listen. Ron loved to work with children and routinely taught fire prevention to children at local schools, youth groups, and the Children’s Safety Village. Ron also helped develop the fire prevention curriculum that is used today. He served the Sheridan Fire Department in the offices of president, chief for two terms, and as a fire commissioner in his third term. Through the course of his career he also served on countless committees.

The 2017 Excellence in the Fire Service is being given to Julius Leone, Chautauqua County Director of Emergency Services. Julius has dedicated his life to his profession and began his career with the Hook and Ladder company of the Fredonia Fire Department. He has served in all of the line officer positions including Captain. He has been Assistant Fire Chief and Fire Chief for Fredonia Fire Department, has been a certified EMT since 1981, has served as President for the Chautauqua County Fire Chiefs Association, the Emergency Medical Services Council and Chairman of the Fire Advisory Board.

The second award being given is the Kevin Link Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement. This award is to commemorate exemplary talents and contributions as demonstrated by the nominee’s dedication, loyalty, ability and integrity. This award has been named after Kevin Link, a deputy sheriff with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office who passed away unexpectedly on Oct. 19, 2016. He served as a member of the Chautauqua County SWAT Team, Dive Team, and was a certified EMT. Kevin also worked part time as an EMT for the ALSTAR Ambulance Service. He worked as a school resource officer at Cassadaga Central Schools, BOCES – LoGuidice Center, and most recently, served as the School Resource Officer for Silver Creek Schools, where his passion to help each student reach their fullest potential was his ultimate goal. Kevin also played a key role in the Safety Village Internet Safety Program that is used today.

The 2017 Excellence in Law Enforcement is being given to Matthew Hazleton, Dunkirk K-9 Police Officer who passed away on Aug. 6, 2017. Matthew served as a police officer for the City of Dunkirk Police Department for 14 and a half years, the last two years he served as the city’s K-9 officer. He was a member of the City of Dunkirk’s Dive Team and was also a member of the Dunkirk Police Benevolent Association. His wife Jennifer will be accepting the award in honor of Matt and the legacy he has left on this community.

The Madelyn Petscher or Young Hero Award is being given to a child who has demonstrated Bravery and Heroism. It was developed to honor children ages 13 and under who have used the knowledge they have learned to help others in an emergency situation. It is to commemorate their contributions to the safety of others. Madelyn Petscher attended the Children’s Safety Village during the first few years of operation. Even at the young age of only 4 years old, she did exactly what she was asked in class, which was to go home and choose a meeting place with your family and practice an escape plan in case of a fire. She was so adamant in insisting that her family participate in this activity that her father finally gave in and they all practiced an escape plan after dinner. Little did they know that months later, their home and all their belongings would be consumed in a house fire which also took the life of their dog, Nana, who first alerted the family of the fire. Thankfully, Madelyn and her entire family escaped safely. The Safety Village considers Madelyn their first success story because she did exactly what she was trained to do at the early age and because of it, her family is still here today.

The 2017 Young Hero Award is being given to Raymond Carlson who committed a heroic act in 2009 when he was 9 years old. Raymond took charge in an emergency situation and saved the lives of his grandmother and 3three children. He was able to get everyone to safety and call for help.

“The Children’s Safety Village is honored to have the opportunity to recognize this year’s prestigious award winners, each of whom have touched the lives of many people right here in our community,” states Terri Kindberg, executive director. “These award recipients have made significant contributions by the lives they lived and the choices they made. All too often we forget to acknowledge those who put their lives at risk for us or say thank you to those who have made a lasting impact on our lives.”

“The Gala is the perfect opportunity for local residents to recognize individuals who make a difference in the lives of others. We would like to invite the community to attend the Gala to show them how much we value their contributions to our community,” states Jessica Dayton, associate director.

For more information about the Gala, or to purchase tickets for Sept. 30th, visit or feel free to call/email us at 338-0171 or to make arrangements to pay by cash or check. The evening will feature a social hour from 6-7 p.m. where attendees can bid on silent auction items and enjoy appetizers and drinks. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. with awards following after. Lastly, a live auction will take place. All proceeds from the auction will go to support the Children’s Safety Villages’ important Fire, Traffic, and Bike Safety programs where children come from all over the area to learn in a hands on environment and are given important safety education that could one day save their lives.

The Chautauqua Children’s Safety Education Village is located in Ashville. It is a not-for-profit organization which was formed in 1996. The DFT Communications Educational Facility, where classes are held, is surrounded by a child-sized village, complete with a business district, paved roads, street signs, sidewalks and everything you would find in an actual village. The purpose of the Safety Village is to educate children, primarily in the areas of Traffic, Bike and Fire Safety. The goal is to decrease the number of unnecessary injuries and unfortunate fatalities in our community by allowing children to experience hands-on lessons that they will remember. The Safety Village is sustained through fundraising efforts, grants and donations from a generous community. All donations are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

Together we can make a difference in the lives of children in our community. The Safety Village is sustained through fundraising efforts, grants and donations from a generous community. All donations are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated. Together we can make a difference in the lives of children in our community.

For more information or to make a donation, please contact: Terri Kindberg, Executive Director, 2695 Route 394, Ashville, NY 14701, email or call 499-8138/338-0171.