“Jimmy was a friend. A friend to me, a friend to the fire department and a friend to all the village residents because he was a first responder,” Lynbrook Mayor Bill Hendrick told a group of about 200 fire department members, elected officials, family members and community members on April 9 outside of the Lynbrook Fire Department’s headquarters on Wright Avenue. They were all there to watch as members of the Lynbrook Fire Department’s Truck Company lifted a curtain to reveal the new name of the headquarters: James McDermott Headquarters.
McDermott spent much of his adult life serving as a first responder. In 1983, at the age of 23, he was hired by the New York Police Department and he retired as a sergeant in 1995. During this time, he also joined the Rescue Hook, Ladder and Bucket Company No. 1 of the Lynbrook Fire Department. In 1989, he was elected as captain of the Truck Company and served as a trustee from 1992 until 2016.
McDermott also served as the chief of the fire department. He was first elected in 2002, then again in 2012, becoming the only person to ever be elected for a second term as fire chief in the history of the Lynbrook Fire Department. “He was a great guy, dedicated, hard-working,” said James’ brother Patrick McDermott, who works as Lynbrook’s park supervisor. “He put in 36 years as a volunteer.”
In August 2016, McDermott died from an unexpected heart attack. He was only 55. “When a guy goes so early in life, it’s so tragic,” said Hendrick. “He had so much more to give.”
At the ceremony, Second Assistant Chief William Abrams and Third Assistant Chief Nicholas Pearsall unveiled a bronze plaque describing McDermott’s career. The plaque will be installed onto the building. “Our members for years to come will be reminded of him and we’ll keep him in our memory,” said First Assistant Chief Carl Lengel, who has known McDermott since they both joined the fire department in 1980.
Hendrick said that McDermott deserved the honor. “I’m glad that Jimmy’s getting this award, and so is the village board” he said. “They all said this is right, and we all knew it was right.”
Patrick McDermott said that his family greatly appreciated the ceremony. “It was just a tremendous honor for the village to do something like that for our family,” he said. “They really treated my family with the upmost respect.”