John D’Alessandro believes that being a firefighter is a noble calling. It is not simply something you do but something that is a part of who you are as a person. John heard that calling later in life, but it quickly became a major part of it – both at the firehouse and in his home.
He joined the Halfmoon Fire Rescue in 2009 with his then-teenaged son, Evan. Evan knew he wanted to be a firefighter since he could walk. One day while driving home from an Explorers meeting, John made a promise to Evan to try to get in shape so that they could go through Firefighter 1 together. Evan was 16 and John was 52.
A few years after they became firefighters, John’s daughter Caitlin decided that she was tired of hearing all the stories her father and brother would tell about the calls they went on. Not to be outdone, she decided to join the department too.
Fast forward to today and you will find Evan serving as both a career firefighter and volunteer in South Carolina and Caitlin answering calls as a paramedic and volunteer in the Capital District. In addition, John’s older son, Nicholas, is the former Assistant Director of the Dietary Department at the FASNY Firemen’s Home in Hudson. The D’Alessandros are all are passionate about the importance of recruiting new members into the volunteer fire service. In fact, Caitlin and John were recently featured in the New York Times on the subject of recruitment of women in the volunteer fire service.
“I love being a firefighter. Aside from my marriage and the birth of my children, it is my greatest accomplishment,” John says. “I am proud to be part of a group of men and women who have made a solemn commitment to help their friends, family and neighbors when called upon.”
On the professional side, John started working for the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York as the Deputy Volunteer Programs Coordinator. Today, he serves as Secretary of the organization and as the Volunteer Programs Coordinator.
These days, the D’Alessandro family proudly responds to hundreds of calls each year in several different communities. They go wherever they are needed, whenever they are called and they do it with a sense of pride of being a volunteer firefighter.