Firefighter - Engine Company #4
Walter A. Ernst
Walter Ernst joined Engine Company # 4 on May 15, 1972. He resided at 11 Lion Lane in Westbury, and immediately became a “fireman’s fireman”.
Demonstrating the qualities of a leader, in 1977, Walter was elected 2nd Lieutenant, and in 1978, he would move up to 1st Lieutenant.
Although he chose not to move up to Captain due to increasing family and work commitments, Walter remained an integral part of the company.
Walter enjoyed being a firefighter. He always answered calls beyond the required percentages.
After being awarded life membership for all his years of service, Walter continued answering alarms, and attending trainings, and other company and department functions which he so proudly served.
Walter also had a passion of playing golf with some of his fellow company members.
One year, Walter and his son Craig, won a father and son trophy at the annual Firemen’s Benevolent Tournament, but had a tough time parting with the $1 side bet against the other Engine 4 foursome at another Benevolent Tournament.
The members chose to frame that dollar, and display it at Walter’s second home at Station # 4.
Walter had the patience of a saint, as you would often see him playing with the other company member’s children in the backyard of the firehouse.
Along with Walter’s continued dedication in answering fire and emergency calls, he was an active participant at company trainings. He enjoyed the challenges of training and rarely missed any. He also took it very serious to help show new members what to do, and how to do it.
But on May 27, 1998, after a regular Wednesday night company training, Walter went home a told his wife he wasn’t feeling well, and went to bed.
He never woke up the next morning. His company responded to his home along with 1st arriving Chief Anthony J. Messina, also of his company. It was too late as a Walter had suffered a massive heart attack in his sleep.
At the time of his passing, he was survived by his wife Linda, sons Craig and Keith, and daughter Vikki. A memorial tribute has Walter’s gear encased in a cabinet in his firehouse. His Badge # 407 has also been retired in his memory.
Other Members Making the Supreme Sacrifice
On September 21, 1951, a young George Leggio joined the ranks as a firefighter in Engine Company # 3.
James H. Landrigan
James Landrigan joined Engine Company # 2 on October 16, 1961. It would not be long before Jimmy would become an asset to the department.
Robert E. Reed
Bob Reed joined Engine Company 4 of the East Meadow Fire Department on December 17, 1951. He resided at 46 Palm Lane Westbury, and was a charter member of Company 4.