Dix Hills FD Honors Fred Reithel for 50 Years Service
Story and photos by Steve Silverman
The Dix Hills Fire Department recently honored Ex-Chief and past Commissioner Fred Reithel for his 50 years of outstanding and dedicated volunteer service to the department and community. At the August Department meeting, Reithel was recognized with Proclamations and Citations from Governor Andrew Cuomo, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Assemblyman Andrew Raia, Suffolk County Volunteer Firemen’s Association, Suffolk County Fire Chief’s Council, NY State Association of Fire Chiefs and the Fireman’s Association of NY State.
Reithel served in the United States Navy where he built PT boats, then worked for Sperry where he produced the navigation system for submarines. He later bought land on Caledonia Road in 1955, where he built his own house. Fred’s unique mechanical abilities quickly became an asset around the firehouse. “We had nothing in those days, but made do,” Reithel remarked.
Fred quickly advanced through the officers ranks, becoming Chief of the Department from 1974 to 1975. At 92-years of age, Fred is still an active member of the Fire Police. The department and Dix Hills community has grown and developed much in the last 50 years, and Fred has seen it change from a predominantly rural and farm community to a mainly residential area with several heavily traveled major highways running through the district. Although times have changed, the department has progressed due to the dedication of its members like Fred Reithel.
Pictured from left, is Suffolk County Fire Chief’s Council First Vice President Joey D’Alessandro, Suffolk Volunteer Firemen’s Association President and FASNY Trustee Jerry Owenburg, Fred Reithel, Dix Hills FD Chief of Department Tom Magno, Second Assistant Chief Tom Napolitano, and Third Assistant Chief Alan Berkowitz. Not pictured was First Assistant Chief Robert Fling.