Adam Dietz Wyalusing’s 2011 Outstanding Citizen
By David Keeler
The Wyalusing Rainbow Club has selected Wyalusing Fire Chief Adam Dietz as the community’s 2011 Outstanding Citizen.
Dietz was chosen from nominations submitted by members of the community and approved by a unanimous vote at the Rainbow Club’s Dec. 12 meeting.
He will be presented the award at a banquet set to take place on Friday, Jan. 13 at the Wyalusing Community Corps’ Tuscarora-Wayne Room in the Chamber of Commerce building on Main Street, starting with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. The event is open to anyone who wishes to attend.
The buffet dinner will be catered by the Wyalusing Hotel and will include roast beef and chicken cordon bleu at $20 per person, including cocktails. Reservations must be made by Jan. 9 by calling 746-4922 and can be made by leaving a message and paying at the door on the night of the event. Entertainment will be provided by the Wyalusing Swing Choir, which will perform following dinner.
Dietz, who’s 34, is the youngest person to be named as Wyalusing’s Outstanding Citizen over the 11 years that the award has been presented. Other recipients have included: Vincent “Bill” Bendinsky, Don and Nancy Newell, Wayne Felter, Bill and Gladys Miller, Mary Ann Raffin, Mary Jane Tompkins, Bob and Lynn Westover, Tom and Jody Miller, Bill and Caryl Snyder and Marvin and Maxine Meteer.
Wyalusing resident Gene Ann Woodruff, one of the people who nominated Dietz to receive the award, said she was impressed by Dietz’s leadership skills during the September flooding. “Adam has shown this community a true display of spirit that was unmatched during our most recent flood crisis,” Woodruff said. “His leadership was amazing to me. He had such a calming presence throughout and gave everyone around him the strength to get the job done. There were numerous occasions during that week that showed me that Adam has what it takes to be an outstanding leader and kind friend. I could not think of a better person for the honor this year.”
A resident of the Wilmot Township community of Quicks Bend, where he lives with his wife, Jeanette, and their children, Connor, 16, Autumn, 12, and Austin, 9, Dietz is a 1996 WVHS graduate and has been a volunteer firefighter for over 20 years.
Volunteerism is Alive and Well
Wyalusing Mayor Jean Reinhart commended Dietz for his service to the community. “Volunteerism is alive and well in the Wyalusing Area, and Adam Dietz is a prime example,” the mayor said. “His dedication to the local volunteer fire company is admirable, and I commend him for his outstanding devotion to the citizens of this borough and the surrounding communities. His leadership was especially exemplary during our recent catastrophic flooding.”
Dietz has received the Wyalusing Valley Volunteer Fire Department’s Fireman of the Year Award twice, in 2000 and 2007, and also received the company’s Chief’s Helper Award in 1999. Adam said he was inspired to be a firefighter by Kevin Potter, Rick Shaffer, Tom Miller, Wayne Felter and other members of the Wyalusing Valley Volunteer Fire Department. “They taught me how to fight fires and how to grow up,” Dietz said. “They also taught me how to treat people.”
Tom Miller, Wyalusing Valley Volunteer Fire Department President, summed up Dietz’s commitment to the fire company in one sentence: “Adam is the fire company,” he said. “He exemplifies everything that our fire company is about and he’s been doing it since high school.”
Miller said prior to the natural gas boom, Wyalusing firefighters normally responded to between 100 and 120 calls per year, but so far this year they’ve been called out 235 times. “Adam has responded to most of those calls,” Miller said. “He feels as chief it’s his responsibility to be there. He has that level of dedication.”
During the September flooding, Miller said that Dietz made a conscious decision to remain on the Wyalusing side of the river rather than remaining with his family in Quicks Bend. “He stayed here to direct flood relief and rescue operations, and I think he went without sleep for at least three days.”
Dietz said it’s the support from his family that allows him to do his job. “If I wasn’t married to the woman that I’m married to, I wouldn’t be doing this job,” Dietz said. “She’s given up a lot. And so have my kids. They understand that there are times when I can’t be at their ball game or practice.”
He is My Hero
Adam’s wife, Jeanette describes him as a man with a heart for his community. “He is my hero,” she said, adding that her husband is also an excellent role model for younger members of the community.
He also credits his employer Tran-Z for allowing him to respond to emergencies. “ I couldn’t do this job without their support and cooperation,” he said.
It was during the September flooding that Dietz says he saw the real spirit of the community. “You often hear that volunteerism is dead, but that’s not true,” he said. “It’s the politics in some of the volunteer organizations that keeps people away, but when emergencies come, people are there to help. They are ready to volunteer but they just don’t want all the baggage.”