Great Neck Fire company honors 51-year member

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Great Neck Fire company honors 51-year member
Peter Meade, who has served 51 years with the Great Neck Alert Fire Company, is pictured in the center with fellow members of the Alerts and Alert junior firefighters (Photo courtesy of Sara Rietbroek).

Early in his fire career, Peter Meade and members of the Great Neck Fire Alert Company, a volunteer fire company, rescued all the children and teachers in a burning nursery school on Old Mill Road.

That moment remains the most memorable for Meade, 74, who retired from firefighting in 1981 but is still an active member in the Alerts, which he joined in 1966. He was a firefighter for 16 years.

“We saved the children from that building, and I’ll never forget it,” Meade said. “When I look at the mirror in the morning, I know that there are adults out there alive because of actions that I took.”

Meade braved the flames to save two children hiding in a closet on the second floor of the nursery.

The former fire company president “has pretty much been dedicated to the fire service,” his whole career, Great Neck Fire Alert Company Chief James Neubert said.

Even after retiring from firefighting, Meade did not cease his involvement with the Alerts. He was the chairman of several committees: bylaws, service awards, legislative and membership.

Meade recently reduced his involvement to one, the legislative committee, after learning he has stage four sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, in his lungs. He has been afflicted with the malignant tumor since April of this year but he has had two other types of cancer, prostate and bladder, since 2005.

“But it really hasn’t affected me that much,” Meade said about the prostate and bladder cancer, “but this particular cancer [the sarcoma] requires chemo.”

Meade’s chemo treatments have caused him to stay mostly at home. So, he was “very flattered,” when the Alerts fire company, and the Alert junior firefighters came to his home to honor him on their way to the annual Nassau County Firemen’s Association parade in Bethpage.

“Pete is a very well-spoken, well-educated man, and his heart is fully into fire service,” said  Neubert, who has known Meade since he joined the service 30 years ago. “He’s probably one of the most well liked guys in the company.”

Meade was recently awarded a certificate from the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York for achieving 50 years as a member of the Alerts. In addition, Meade also served  as a U.S. Marine from 1961 to 1964. He was part of the Second Division, part of which served during the blockade of Guantanamo Bay during the Cuban missile crisis, he said. He was also an assistant fire marshal for fire and rescue services for Nassau County Fire Communications.

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