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A response to setting the record straight

Dear Editor,

-Letter to the Editor-

I am the victim of an unwarranted and unprovoked attack on my service to the McKees Rocks Volunteer Fire Department by someone who should know better.

I was one of the 40 original members of the fire department when it was voted in by McKees Rocks Borough Council in May of 1983. I remained in continuous service from 1983 until I retired on Jan. 1, 2021. There are now only two active members left from that original membership: Ron Trautman and Tony Ladebu. I never claimed that I signed the Corporate charter of the VFD and I don't know where that allegation came from.

I trained with that original group in 1983 at various places such as the then dilapidated Wilson School under Assistant Chief Tom Pegg of the Monroeville VFD. I was delegated by the "founding" chief to work the polls that referendum election day in 1983 at the Holy Ghost polling place because it was my neighborhood.

I did so the entire day surrounded by paid firemen who constantly tried to block me to keep me from soliciting support for the department. Their efforts failed. We won those districts by a four-to-one margin. I attended the victory party that night at the Wil Kar bar and was congratulated by the "founding" chief for my efforts.

I guess he just forgot.

I was elected chief and took over a demoralized, frustrated, humiliated and embarrassed department. I still have the newspaper clippings and criminal complaint as to why.

I guess he just forgot.

During my almost 38 years as a member (1983 to 2021) and over a quarter century as chief, we established requirements of mandatory completion of training at the Allegheny County Fire Academy, now over 200 hours, and all members — even officers — had to take at least one class per year to maintain membership. We continuously upgraded our trucks, equipment and training.

The capstone of my career, of course, is the recent placing into service of the finest aerial truck in the area. These efforts, during my time as chief, were recognized twice by the Insurance Service Office, which rates community fire protection every 10 years or so, raising the boroughs rating equal to surrounding communities. This resulted in lower fire insurance rates for the borough.

All during that time I gained the support of the membership and confidence of borough council and the community.

I have also served the borough continuously on the Zoning Hearing Board since 1984 and was just reappointed to another four-year term. I am also proud to have been appointed to serve on the Civil Service Commission.

My record of service to the McKees Rocks VFD and the borough is unquestionable, unblemished and second to none. I have always been McKees Rocks Borough and Station 189 proud and will remain so.

—Nicholas Radoycis, Jr.,RetiredChief of McKees Rocks Independent Volunteer Fire Department

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