It seems appropriate as most of us prepare to sit down and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal  we share the story of a man who left the holiday dinner table to battle a fire. Our First Responder of the Week is Waylan Wilczek with the Westmoreland Volunteer Fire Department.

While Waylan is a young man, he has been with the department for 22 years first beginning when he was 18 years old. He currently serves as 2nd Assistant Chief at Westmoreland in a couple of roles, interior firefighter and head of theRestricted Active Member (RAM) program. RAM allows 16 and 17 year old youth to join the department and get a head start on training.

The person nominating Waylan told us, "He is simply always there, in any weather condition, if it’s a normal Friday afternoon or in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner." The "Thanksgiving dinner" story happened two years when the family had just sat down to eat when a structure fire broke out, it took six hours to extinguish.

Racing out of the house to fight a fire is no surprise for the family, Waylan is a 3rd generation fireman. His grandfather Walter Wilczek Sr. spent years serving with the Yorkville Fire Department, his father, Walter Jr. is the current Fire Commissioner in Westmoreland. And it won't end at 3, the 4th generation, Waylan's 19-year-old son, Tyler is volunteering with both the Westmoreland and Fairmount Fire Departments while attending Fire Fighting School.

A huge "Thank You" to Waylan and the entire Wilczek family for their years of service to our communities. Not only the hours spent on the line, but the years of training and teaching others how to help in a time of need. And I couldn't help but ask, Waylan is named after the country outlaw himself, Waylon Jennings.

Do you know a first responder that deserves to be recognized? Tell us about someone who should be honored in Central New York - a firefighter, police officer, EMT, forest ranger, paramedic, DEC officers, military, rescuers, front line workers, or any other person first on the scene.

Include their name, a picture and why they should be recognized during 'First Responder Friday." We'll honor one first responder every Friday and as a way to say thank you, we'll give them a Bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes.

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