Lakeview Fire Chief Heather Senti already holds the title of being the first woman in Nassau County history to be elected to serve as chief of a volunteer fire department. But now she can add "Person of the Year" to her accomplishments.
The West Hempstead Community Support Association recently announced that they selected Senti for this year's coveted award.
When Senti's name was nominated for the 2012 West Hempstead Person of the Year title, the Community Support Association’s Executive Board unanimously voted for her to receive the award.
"The decision was an easy one to make, because Heather has dedicated thousands of hours volunteering to benefit our community," said WHCSA President Rosalie Norton.
In addition to the countless hours Senti has contributed to the Lakeview Volunteer Fire Department, where she currently serves as chief, she's also dedicated much of her time to the Community Support Association. She began volunteering as a member with the organization, then called the West Hempstead Civic Association, when she was only a teenager.
She organized the first children’s “fun days,” which featured games and activities geared for elementary school-aged kids in the community during the “dog days” of summer. On these days, Hall’s Pond Park was packed with families helping with crafts and games.
"Regardless of how hot the day, Heather and her friends were there to make sure the children enjoyed themselves," stated a press release from the WHCSA's Executive Board.
Senti was the first member of the West Hempstead Civic Association Executive Board to work with the American Legion Cathedral Post 1087 and the Garden City South VFW to help plan and organize their annual Memorial Day Parade. She established the tradition that continues today of the Civic Association working with local American Legion members to jointly sponsor the Memorial Day Parade each May to honor veterans and encourage the community to come together to pay tribute to all those who serve.
Senti's interest in community service was instilled in her as a child. Growing up she saw her father and grandfather dedicate their time to the Lakeview Fire Department, so even prior to being eligible to become a volunteer firefighter herself, Senti was often seen observing and helping the department. Finally, when she reached the age requirement, Heather joined the Lakeview Fire Department, continuing her family's great tradition.
Her career choice in college was focused on continuing her goal of helping others. In 2006, Senti received a Master’s Degree in Emergency Management from Adelphi University and she currently works for Nassau County’s Office of Emergency Management.
Her talent for organizing, her ability to work with people, and the sincerity of her desire to help, gained the respect of her colleagues and she rose through the ranks to the position she now holds, chief of the Lakeview Fire Department.
"In honoring Heather Senti as our West Hempstead Person of the Year 2012, we commend her for her accomplishments and the distinction she has garnered as the 'First Female Fire Chief in Nassau County,'" explained the WHCSA Executive Board. "Heather has made us proud of the service she has given to the West Hempstead Civic Association and for all she has achieved and continues to do for our residents and our community."
The WHCSA will present the award to Senti at its next community meeting scheduled for Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the West Hempstead Middle School cafeteria.