Naugatuck VFW holding Citizen’s Awards ceremony  


By Citizen’s News

NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck VFW Post 1946 will honor seven community members Sept. 19 at its annual Citizen’s Awards dinner.

Awards will be given to a veteran, police officer, firefighter, fire police volunteer, citizen and two emergency medical technicians during a ceremony at the Crystal Room, 98 School St. The event starts at 12 p.m. with a cocktail hour followed by lunch at 1 p.m. Tickets are $40 per person.

For information or tickets, call Charles Barnsley at 203-233-2318 or Jack LeBlanc at 203-231-8714.

Police Officer of the Year: Det. Thomas McGarvey joined the Naugatuck Police Department in 2012 and is assigned to the detective division. McGarvey serves as a field training officer, firearms instructor and computer forensic analyst, and is a crash reconstructionist for the Naugatuck Valley Collision Investigation Team.

McGarvey, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, has been awarded a Medal for Meritorious Service, three life saving medals and four unit citations during his time with the department.

Firefighter of the Year: Firefighter John DeBisschop started as a career firefighter with the Waterbury Fire Department in October 1998. He worked for the department for seven years before joining the Naugatuck Fire Department in October 2005.

DeBisschop, a U.S. Navy veteran, started his service to the community has an EMT with the former Naugatuck Volunteer Ambulance Corps in 1992. After returning home from the Navy in 1997, DeBisschop joined the former Naugatuck Volunteer Fire Company #1. He holds multiple fire service certifications including aerial operator, pump operator, tanker operator, trench rescue technician, and vehicle and machinery rescue technician. He has also earned an Associate of Applied Science in fire science and a Bachelor of Applied Science in fire science administration.

EMT of the Year: John Lengyel is an EMT for American Medical Response, where he’s worked for the past 26 years.

During his time at AMR, Lengyel responded to the World Trade Center in New York City after the 9/11 attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Lengyel began his career at Naugatuck Ambulance in 1990 and became a certified EMT in 1991. He serves on an emergency response team for deployments for natural disasters. He has recently been deployed, including to New York City, to administer COVID-19 vaccinations during the pandemic.

EMT of the Year: Isabelle Boemmels earned her EMT certification on her 16th birthday in 2019 and immediately started volunteering for Echo Hose Ambulance in Shelton. In November 2020, she started her first EMS job at Naugatuck Ambulance.

Boemmels’ interest in emergency medicine started when she was 12 and volunteered with two EMTs and a nurse in the medical station at a camp. She is studying biology at Quinnipiac University in Hamden and plans to attend medical school to further her career in emergency medicine.

Veteran of the Year: U.S. Navy veteran Philip Arcuri enlisted in February 1966. After basic training, he was assigned to the USS Preston DD795, based out of Long Beach, Calif. While serving on the USS Preston, Arcuri was deployed twice during the Vietnam War.

After the Navy, Arcuri worked for Perkin Elmer Corp. in Danbury, where he retired as a senior facilities engineers. Arcuri is a member of and supports several local veterans’ organizations, including VFW Post 1946, American Legion Post 17 and Catholic War Veterans Post 708.

Fire Police of the Year: Evan Toms joined the Naugatuck Fire Police in 2017 and was recently appointed the rank of lieutenant. Toms volunteers with the Fire Police at many events and emergency scenes, as well as helping with the Fire Police food drives for the community.

Toms began his volunteer efforts at the age of 5, when his parents started him in Cub Scouts with Pack 109. He later joined Boy Scout Troop 115 and became and Eagle Scout in 2014. He’s also received the Waterbury Youth Services Excellence Award for initiative. Toms attended heavy construction academy in New Hampshire, where he learned how to operate an array of earthmoving machines.

Citizen of the Year: Rocky Vitale has served for eight years as a burgess on the Board of Mayor and Burgesses. He previously served on the Board of Education for 16 years and the Board of Finance for two years.

Vitale, who retired from the insurance industry, was one of the driving forces behind establishing the Naugatuck Dog Park. He was a member of St. Mary Church, where he served as a lector and Extraordinary Minister of the Holy Eucharist. He served as a volunteer EMT for 32 years, and is on the Naugatuck Ambulance Inc. board of directors. He was also the first president of The Sawdust Clown Alley, which was chartered through Clown if America to bring entertainment to shut-ins and children throughout the state.