John Donald was elected chief of the Lynbrook Fire Department on April 8. Donald, a member of Rescue Hook, Ladder & Bucket Company No. 1, better known as Truck Company, carries on a family tradition in the fire service.
Donald joined the LFD in November 2003 after serving on active duty in the United States Marine Corps for more than seven years. He joined the Marines in 1996 and served stateside, and was deployed to Okinawa, Japan. He was also a primary marksmanship instructor with the Weapons and Field Training Battalion at Parris Island, S.C.
He was first elected second lieutenant of Truck Company in April 2008 and served through the ranks, completing his term as captain in April 2014. He was then elected to third assistant chief in 2018 and rose to second assistant chief and first assistant chief over the past two years.
Donald officially took the helm of the LFD on April 20, when he and the other assistant chiefs were sworn into office by Lynbrook Mayor Alan Beach at a ceremony during the department’s council meeting at Lynbrook Fire Headquarters.
Donald then swore in the company officers for the coming year while Village Administrator John Giordano swore in the department wardens.
After the ceremony, and by tradition, the mayor presented a bottle of champagne and each of the new chiefs, as well as outgoing Chief Michael Brooks, who was toasted for a successful and safe year for its volunteers and the residents of Lynbrook.
Donald continues a long family tradition in the fire service and in the chief’s office. His father, William Donald Jr., was chief of the LFD from 1989 to 1990. His grandfather, William Donald, was chief of the Inwood Fire Department from 1935 to 1936.
Donald has been employed as a corporal at the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department since 2008. He is married to ToniAnn, his wife of 23 years, and they have two daughters, Danielle and Giana.
Also elected on April 8 and sworn in on April 20 were First Assistant Chief Chris Kelly, Second Assistant Chief Danny Ambrosio and the newest chief, Third Assistant Chief Scott Bien.
Kelly, a law enforcement detective, could not be present. His son Ryan, who proudly wore his father’s badge, represented him at the ceremony.
Donald noted the absence of Chief Kelly and said, “It’s nice to have Ryan stand in for his father, as it shows the strong family ties in the volunteer fire service and that our regular jobs can take precedence at a moment’s notice.”
Additionally, Bien’s grandfather, Ralph Bien, served as chief of the department from 1974 to 1975. The younger Bien was elected exactly 50 years to the day his grandfather was elected to that same position, and sworn in 50 years to the day.
“I thank my family for their continual support.,” Donald said, and I commit my unwavering support to all the members of the Lynbrook Fire Department and the residents of the Village of Lynbrook.”