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Vollies get a Spring Cleaning with Help from Goldman Sachs Community Teamworks Volunteers


The Gerrittsen Beach Volunteer Fire Department welcomed Goldman Sachs Community TeamWorks volunteers the other day Friday, May 7 2010.

The 25+ year old ceiling tiles in the main hall were all replaced there were over 300 of them. The back yard was all cleaned of debris. The entire outside of the building was cleaned and painted. There was an amazing mural painted above the Memorial Plaque. The mural is a tribute to our Volunteers and the Blue and Gold Star Mothers.

The most important project ahead for the Vollies is the roof of the hall. Currently, because of the weight of the roof, the roof itself is sagging. This is causing the roof to leak. After receiving estimates from licensed roofers, this roof needs to be stripped of its 5 or 6 layers and completely redone. One of our estimates for the roof includes materials and the cost of the contractor – if the community roofers would get involved and help.

The bottom line is that in order for the Vollies to afford this, the Community roofers would have to work for free – as all the Vollies do – every day. However, when asked, the response from the contractors was, “I don’t work for FREE”. This response is very hurtful being the Vollies always work for free to respond every day.

This roof needs to be done now and the vollies are requesting anyone with roofing experience to help out and come forward.



65 comments to Vollies get a Spring Cleaning with Help from Goldman Sachs Community Teamworks Volunteers

  • We would like to thank Goldman Sachs for the generous contribution, time and effort that went into the facelift of the Vollie Hall.

    We are in desperate need of repair on our roof as the story says. The Vollie hall is the primary location for all GBFD sponsored training for both the vollies and the community. All of our EMT , community CPR (adult/infant), Firefighting and Certified First Responder training all take place in the Hall. The hall is also used for the vollies when available and waiting to respond to allow for faster response to emergency’s as we are adjacent to the firehouse. The hall has been used by other organizations in the community at various times (boy scouts, community marching band, GBPOA etc) as well as housing our annual Halloween haunted firehouse, and Ragga Muffin parade/Santa Clause (community favorites)

    The deterioration of the roof jeopardizes our ability to perform any of the events mentioned above. We have not completed the ceiling tile replacement in full since we have a huge section of the room that leaks and would ruin the newly installed tiles as it has already ruined some equipment. We are seeking any support from the community by way of expertise, materials, donations etc. This facility is imperative to the continuing existence to the vollies as we would be unable to host any of the events in the firehouse or elsewhere due to space constraints. Any assistance to keep this vital organization going would be greatly appreciated.

    Also remember that we have a lot of new members and we are looking for additional members all the time. If you are interested feel free to stop in and talk to a member or visit us at GBFD.net or facebook.com/GBvollies

    • Hey, just a random thought, perhaps if the contractors could use the time they volunteer as some sort of charity/tax write off maybe they'll be more willing?

      • GBFD Vol Mike says:

        Thanks art. I made mention to that further down in the postings, but I appreciate you trying to come up with suggestions.


  • marney

    if a roofer has a family to feed, mortgage to pa , employees to pay, expecting them to work the day for free is a little too much. yes the vollies work for free,but what was the last fire the put out?

    • Anonymous

      Let's not forget about the ambulance

    • A volunteer

      "You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give."

      I appreciate the vollies and the roofer who would work for free. I am not a roofer but I try to volunteer my time and money in my community whenever I can. Thats all anyone can ask.

    • GBFD Vol Mike says:


      We are not suggesting anyone take money from feeding their families or losing a days pay to fix the vollie hall. A contractor who incurred expenses as a result of their donation would be entitled to file as a tax write off (proper tax exemption rules apply.) since the vollies are a not for profit organization. Every member with the exception of a few retirees all work the daily grind or are full time students. We all understand and appreciate the need to feed our families and pay our bills, but we all also believe in a commitment to making our neighborhood a better place. We would never suggest anyone donate time or services that would be detrimental to their family of livelihood. We don’t discriminate against people who donate and those who don’t, as do numerous agencies out there, if you are not a paying in member they wont give you the time of day. We respond to any call we receive, because the caring of our residents is the priority. We are not looking to operate in the lap of luxury, any person who has been inside the vollie hall can attest to the conditions in which operate. We dedicate all our donations to bills, operating expenses and making sure the vehicles we operate have the necessary tools to assist our residents when the need arrives. As far as the question of when the last fire was that we put out, we responded to a brush fire approximately one week ago. We are not just a “Fire Department” but we supply EMS services as well. We welcome any and all donations whether monetary, equipment, services or actual time.

    • Anonymous

      Question out of curiousity, I know in NJ and on Long Island the Volunteer Fire Departments also have PAID members, does that apply here.

    • Beachwalker/I wish I

      Marney, With smoke detectors and building codes and inspections, there are alot less fires city-wide, which is why they can get away with closing firehouses. The Vollies are alot more than firefighters. I'll never forget coming into my parents house after my father had a heart attack, they were still working on him upstairs, while in the kitchen Tommy Hill stood behind my mother, his hands on her shoulders and Doreen and others kept her calm. He couldn't be saved, but the Vollies stayed and helped with everything. They cleaned him up and had him tucked in his bed as if he was sleeping, just so the family could say good bye before he was removed from the house. If you have never needed them, I'm sure it's easy to say that we don't need them, but the Vollies are one of the things that make GB special, not HOW MANY fires they put out, that's not the point. And while the Ambulance service is great, it's not the whole point either. It's about the caring, It's about the support. They are the essence of the community and Christian spirit that has always been part of GB despite some negative, selfish people who just do not get it, and sadly never will.

      • marney

        i reall think how many fires do they put out is a good question for a FIRE DEPT. there is a FDNY engine company down the street.

        • Beachwalker

          If something is on fire they do put it out. lol, the point is that with smoke detectors, there is alot less drama and fires get put out without losing the whole house or without the loss of life there was in the old days. Why would you be against a group that volunteers their time and skill to better the neighborhood? What is your problem, REALLY?

          • marney

            if you are gonna ask for money for a roof, people should be able to ask why. is hat really the best use of you money? to pay for some people to play fireman. ive lived in the beach for close to thirty yeats i cant think of one fire they put out. the house fires the last couple of years were all responded to by fdny. a couple of years ago they sold that huge lot. why didn't they get the roof fixed then instead of buying new toys

          • whyisit

            to marney, why is it that you talk about the vollies as if they only have a firetruck and are looking to pay to play fireman. the do medical calls also. i also think the trucks were in use before the lot sale. its also very possible that when they sold the lot the roof was not in this condition. would a roof with so much damage then still stand after years of storms??

      • Anonymous

        Yes you are right, the Vollies as an ambulance service and community group are essentail and great BUT you or no one else has any reason why a Volunteer Fire Department is needed. Can anyone remember or even know when the last structual fire that was HANDLED by the Vollies and not the city, I guess not.

        • Anonymous

          What about the Hayes fire on Bevy Court I seen them there

          • Anonymous

            Isn't T. Hayes a roofer? Might be a nice way to return to the community that came out in full support of his family after the fire. And I believe his Dad was the Chief at one time.

          • me

            feel free to volunteer anybody. why don't you put your qwn name so people can contact you to help

          • Anonymous

            Jeez, I just thought it would be nice and that it was sort of ironic when I was trying to think of neighborhood roofers and thought of him. No need to get your shorts all in a bunch over it.

          • Anonymous

            Yes they were there but did nothing once again their lack of training was in high gear. Now let me explain before you jump all over me they were positioned on bevy ct. devon to channel where they encountered a frozen hydrant. At that point they stretched a 1-3/4" handline to the rear of the fire building knowing they had no water to put on the fire. Now your thinking they carry water with them but the 500 gallons they carry only lasts 2 minutes tops when deploying that size hose. So the next thing they should have done but failed to do is get a positive water supply from another pumper or fire hydrant. Lets pretend they got water from a positive water source if they would have opened their hoseline into a window from their position in the rear of the building they would have been pushing the fire,heat and smoke tword the front of the building maybe injuring the paid firefighters. The vollies are not even on the fire ground radio frequency as the paid firefighters making working with them even more dangerous. At the end of the day they need to get trained by real firematic instructors instead of that in house whatever it is you want to call it. Other volunteer depts. in the city queens and staten isl. get equipment and are on the paid depts. alarm system computer and are helped out with whatever they need but we never asked for help from them. Time for our vollies to get with the program firematiclly.

          • Anonymous


          • me

            what are the facts in regards to the vollies and this fire? because this sounds right on the money

          • Anonymous

            The vollies were requested by the FDNY Battalion Chief to stretch a handline into the rear of the house to assist the member of the FDNY who were entering and exiting the fire building though the side windows. And to correct you if i may using a 1"3/4 hand line woud give us about 10-15 minutes if used properly. yes we could of hooked up to another unit but there were none available at the time if you seen Engine 321 was pumping to 2 other engine companies with the only working hydrant on the block.

            If anyone would like to learn more about the vollies and how we operate please we urge you to join. Please to visit our website and fill out an application on our website is http://WWW.GBFD.NET and for our application please visit http://gbfd.net/1applacation.pdf . you will learn many new and interesting things about your community

          • me

            i think at the hayes fire they did squat.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Indart does terrific work. We enjoy all the work he has done in the neighborhood.

  • thewayitusedtob

    Years ago the whole neighborhood would pitch into help. Why don't we just make a date and everyone pitch in for a Community event. We love the Vollies and what they're all about. They're all about helping us…the Community. I think we can give them one or two days so they can continue to help the Community. I am going to contact them and give my name to help. I hope alot of people pitch in.

  • CallThe

    WOW I'm impressed, Goldman provided 300 volunteers to help improve the Vollies I don't think the community would have that many people show up. Thumbs up Goldman I'm guess someone called in a big favor.

    With that said, it seems that having that many people wasn't properly planned for, I find it hard to believe that that many people were needed to paint, replace a drop ceilling and clean up a back yard. The people that use the facilities couldn't clean up the trash and garbage from their own yard.

    As far as the roof needing repair, it has obsviously been a promblem for sometime, it just didn't start leaking, again I question the planning, does anyone plan out and budget for repairs or capital improvements. Also if other organizations use the Hall where are they when physical labor is needed and why not charge them rent or a fee, now before you start yelling about charging your friends, they to are probably a not for profit and like the Vollies get public funding so they could be getting funding "to rent" the Hall from somewhere that could be used by the Vollies.

    The Vollies should not be using their funds for other groups to use the Hall, I'm sure there are utility bills at the very least. I think there maybe some mismanagement of funds and the budget, priorties need to be set. The person who asked the question about when was the last fire they went to raises the question, what was more important buying a new truck or making repairs and improving the operation. the TRUE reality of life in the Beach is that yes the ambulance and maybe ever 2 ambulances are needed and people do call the Vollies for an ambulance but the days of the fire trucks may have past and be a true finicial drain on the organization and the community, come on how many people actually call the Vollies first for a fire when 911 is only 3 digits. My money is on that the LARGE majority of fire "runs" that they go on are not from being called directly but instead from being heard over a FD radio or scanner. I've seen the fire truck with only 2 people on it, how can it be properly utilized with just 2 people at any incident, hell the FDNY has claimed for years that an engine company needs at least 4 firefighters and a supervisor to operate safely, so 2 even 3 people would not be, according to the professionals, operating safely and professionally.

    • anon

      good point

    • thewayitusedtob

      First- I believe you are mistaken when you wrote 300 people doing repairs from Goldman Sachs. There were 7. It was a Friday and Vollies took off work again, to help out their Community. There were 12.

      Second- Since 1922, the GBFD has been in the Community to save lives. Tradition is very big among BEACHITES. Obviously, you don't understand what that means to us. Drill is the first Sunday morning every month. Why don't you come down and see how we train? Come to the firehouse and ask these questions. There is usually a CPR, EMT or OSHA class going on during the week. There is always training going on. There are great organizations in Gerritsen.

      Third-Ask the hundreds that have had their property saved or their lives saved by the Vollies QUICK response. Even 1 is enough.

      Fourth- Budget? When is the last time that you donated time energy or monetary to a Volunteer Organization? The budget is over $110,000.00.

      You can call and find out how that is funded. The Treasurer is doing a fine job of managing the funds. Actually, GBFD is better now than it has been for a long time thanks to Community awareness.

      Last- Most of the time, we are called first and our response time is usually 3 minutes on average. It could be more or less depending on the time of day. and Yes at least 4 firefighters for a structure fire. However it takes only one to drive and one to pump when gasing up.

      Anyone is welcome to a business meeting or attend a drill.

      • Bob

        Okay so in your post from last night you wrote that you were going to call & give your name to pitch in & help the Vollies. But now in this post not even 12 hours later, you talk about the Vollies with the words "we" & "us" and list all details only members would know. Man that is some fast training!!

      • CallThe

        Your points are taken, however point by point

        First, yes I may have misread the number of people

        Second, I understand tradition is, as you put it, very big in the Beach, however reality at times needs to set in and take over from time to time. Great traditions still exist here, Kiddie Beach, Little League, parades nut again lets not forget its a new era. The two cores of our community, the churches, have been and still are experiencing times.

        Third, I'm sure many lives have been saved by the Vollies and the ambulance crew but I'm sorry I can't think of any property that was saved from fire by just Vollies

        Fourth – I've donated many many dollars to most if not all the community organizations in the Beach, lets see from resurrection to St James to GB Cares, to GBPOA, to GBLL, to the Boys and Girl Scouts, to PS 277 and so on, there are more "not for profit" organizations here then one can count. And yes I donate my time as does my family to some of the organizations but I'm sorry I can't donate my time to everyone of them.

        No one ever said you Treasurer wasn't doing a fine job but it's their job tomanage the funds not plan, Managing the funds and planning are two totally different issues

        Fifth, 3 minutes come on, that must be from the time everyone gets to the Vollies, by the time a call is received to the call being put out or the horn activated until people arrive at the Vollies is 3 minutes alone, that responce time is better than any city agency including the FDNY.

        I'm not smashing any organizations or the Vollies but it maybe time for a reality check

    • Bob

      300 people would be stepping all over each other!! They replaced 300 ceiling tiles.

      • Jo

        The saddest part of all the misinformation is that a lot of people don't appreciate the "vollies" until there is an emergency. Until a life is saved, or a fire is put out quickly, detecting co2 when FDNY didn't, sometimes simply to offer comfort. So many times, too often actually, it's not until someone needs the vollies that people realize the impact made by a group of volunteers. We're there because we want to be, not because we have to. Our compassion and understanding is genuine, whether or not our organization is supported by that particular individual. If you love us or hate us, we could be the ones taking care of you or a family member. I sincerely hope it never happens, but if it does, you will be in great hands. Then you'll know.

    • @Call the

      It appears you may have read thru the article I bit too fast, the “300” was the number of tiles replaced not the number of members who showed. In regards to “someone calling in a favor” it was Goldman Sachs who approached us for the project, not the other way around. I agree with you 300 people to paint, clean and install ceiling tiles would in fact be a severe mismanagement of logistics we would have requested some of those people be allocated to other community services and not just focus on the vollie hall. That being said the “7” fantastic Goldman Sachs employees who showed in conjunction with Joe Indart, the vollies and a few (fantastic) residents who stopped by to assist helped us accomplish the facelift. Your statement of “the roof didn’t start leaking again” leads me to think you may be a past member , being a past member you would probably be aware that repairs have been made on the roof previously, however replacing the entire roof may not have been necessary or an option at that time. As we all know though duct tape will only keep your radiator hose on for so long before it needs to be replaced, currently this is the situation we are in now. To answer your question of planning and budget of course monies are allocated for repairs and unexpected situations, however a project of this scope is not that of a simple repair or a replacement of equipment. In respect to the other organizations who utilize the hall and charging a fee, the amount of times a request has been made or the resources required (leaving the lights on for an extra hour) would not warrant the department seeking compensation or payment for services used, I was referring to needing a temporary place to hold a meeting for the night because the current facility was unavailable or the need for a larger space then the one the usually occupy because of a special need. We take the friendly neighbor approach and simply offer the use. We understand the need for resources in special occasions, these organizations struggle with some of the similar hurdles as we do. I would also like to point out that a few people from some of these organizations were on hand for the painting. You seem to call into question the management of funds and planning, to that I would suggest that you please fill out an application (or as a prior member request a hearing with Fire Council) and attend our general business meetings, you seem to speak as someone who is proficient in planning and budget and any input you would have would be welcome and openly discussed for review and implementation. I am a bit bewildered at your statement that the Fire Truck puts a financial drain on the community. The community is not “forced” to pay for any service or equipment the vollies supply or use. All community monies we receive are by way of donation of fund raisers. We are entering our two final payments for the truck, forgoing it at this point would not only be a waste of previous payments but would also reduce the amount of money we would acquire if we opted to eliminate the truck and replace it with another resource. Contrary to your statement we do receive calls for fires and not just by way of scanner. To address the issue of minimal staff on the fire truck I would like to point out that any time you ever see a minimal amount of people on the truck, if you follow us to the scene I assure you that you will see other members (flashing blue lights inside the vehicle) onsite or arriving onsite either with their gear on hand or on the fire truck, remember we do respond from home or work. A response of two people for a fire would not only be ineffective but since one person is required to operate the water pump (and remain at the truck) that would require one person attack a fire, that would put that person’s life in immediate jeopardy and would be completely unacceptable and outright dangerous. I apologize if this seems a little long winded but I believe the community may be ill informed about some situations and I would like to shed some other insight on the issues. Long story short we are here to help, nothing more nothing less. As with any organization we have had our share of highlights, conspiracies and dramatics’ but the current state of this organization is filled with lots of new faces with new ideas and new insights (myself included). As you can tell by my constant request here and on the web (gbfd.net or facebook.com/GBvollies)we are always seeking and welcoming new members. We implore anyone who has an interest in what we do to come speak to us, we won’t try to rope you in and make you commit. We will give you a rundown on what we do and answer any of your questions. It would then be for you to decide if joining the vollies is for you. We require only 3 hours of time a week for full members but we also have a special services division for those who wish to help out but can only do so in a limited capacity. So if you want to find out more about us stop in, call or leave us a msg on the web and we will be more than happy to set up a meeting with you

      • My apologies for not seeing the issue of 300 was already addressed. I wrote the response this morning but got tied up in work

      • Bob

        Mike – thank you for all you do for the community. Please please stop being so defensive. No one made any accusations of mismanagement of funds.

        If you re-read Callthe's first post, he/she wrote "As far as the roof needing repair, it has obsviously been a promblem for sometime, it just didn’t start leaking, again I question the planning, does anyone plan out and budget for repairs or capital improvements." I guess you sort of answered with "monies are allocated for repairs and unexpected situations, however a project of this scope is not that of a simple repair or a replacement of equipment."

        The roof problem has been brought up on this website before plus if the whole roof needs to be replaced & not just some patch work, we can safely assume this has been an ongoing problem. Knowing that it's been an ongoing problem & will be until it is fixed, has a strategy been discussed for a capital campaign or a special fundraiser or looking into grant money to raise the money in the event a roofer doesn't come through? Are there estimates as to how much it will cost?

        Again no accusations of any kind have been made about any mismanagement. It's a simple question about planning for the inevitable. If the roof continues to deteriorate, you won't be able to safely use the hall.

      • GreatJob

        WOW Mike must have taken u some serious time from your work to write your defense, but I don't understand why you are on the defense. If your own house had a leak that turned into leaks over a few years I would think you and your family would come up with a plan to repair or replace, maybe hamburgers instead of steak for a little while, the same should apply at the Vollies

        Good neighbor ?? I didn't know the Vollies Hall was available for the community to use free of charge, maybe some of the free loaders I mean good neighbors can help with the roof

      • Anonymous

        Mike, does the community supply monetary support for the Vollies, do they make donations, if they do then they pay for the services of Vollies. The communities donations and grants from our government pay for the equipment and the services.

        How esle would they be able to survive and operate

    • Anonymous

      You hit it right on the head as far as their manning goes OSHA has mandated several years ago the 2 in 2 out rule for ALL fire departments to abide by. Simply you must have 2 firefighters outside the fire building to be on stand by incase the 2 firefighters inside the fire building need to be rescued. So clearly you need a minimum of 4 firefighters on board the fire engine before you can respond. Please i am not against the vollies they provide a great medical service but as far as the firematics are concerned that should be left to the paid firefighters before one of them get badly injured.

  • Frances

    If the roof is in such great need of fixing and is a really big expensive job, why would anyone expect someone to do it for free? We all are having a hard time with this economy. I think the Vollies are expecting too much when they ask for it to be done by roofers for free. Ask for bids instead, and go for the lowest. Just remember, you get what you pay for.

    • Anonymous

      That is one big roof and there are several layers that need to be ripped up before a new roof can be installed Doesn't sound like a job for amatuers

    • thewayitusedtob

      Would you be willing to help with a fundraiser for the roof? I believe it will cost about $15,000.00. Maybe the Community can help with this?

  • Anonymous

    In years past I've attended business meetings and when someone asked about funds on hand or grant monies the questions were shot down

    BTW – wasn't there property sold by the Vollies a few years back, are all those monies gone

  • Mike 24611

    Wow, I love following the original post and then reading all the responses. Mike is actually on here trying to get people together and help if they can, and the first few posts are sincere, with people sounding genuinely concerned and coming up with some solid ideas. And then the idiot patrol wakes up from their drunken stupor and bombards the whole thing with their moronic and white trash like comments.and then you wonder why nothing can get done.
    Mike, you and the rest of the vollies do a great job with little thanks or neighborhood support for the most part. I wish I had a solution or better ideas to help, but it wouldnt matter because 85% of this neighborhood still would find something vile to say

    • Beachwalker

      I only disagree with the vile stats. I think we got 85% who get it, they just aren't vocal. The 15% of the louses, just need to be ignored.

    • Bob

      Before you call people idiots Mike, you should re-read things. The only negativity is from 1 person & can be easily ignored. The rest have legitimate questions/suggestions/comments or are from Vollies themselves.

  • alitttlefact

    A major reason to have vollies open is because starting May 1st we have established a overnight crew schedule… this is a trained ambulance crew ready to respond every night of the week 365… in what neighborhood in bklyn could u possibly have that?

  • Anonymous

    are there that many calls driving the overnight that a crew is needed to be on standby ? are there any other shifts there is a crew always on stand by ?

  • Anonymous

    i'd love to help out as long as supplies/materials are available for the roofing! i will do the labor & gather a crew, who do i contact? i"m experienced in as well

  • beach bum

    i have only one thing to say, thank you vollies you saved my life.

  • John Campbell

    I'll donate a day to the roof just going to need 10 -20 more people .

    • PD

      John, I hope they take you up on it, you are- without a doubt- one of the best roofers around!

  • Anonymous

    Stupid question: Will the Vollies respond if you place a call about a fire via 911 or only if you call directly?

    • Anonymous

      No question is stupid.That's a good question. If you call 911 first,FDNY will be dispatched. The dispatcher on duty at GBFD, also listens to the fire radio and will dispatch GBFD if its a fire. Sometimes fire dispatch calls GBFD to respond. Either way, if its a structure fire the Vollies back up FDNY or if the Vollies are called first, FDNY backs up GBFD. This is to make certain that one or the other gets to the fire as soon as possible for the quickest response. Both services are equally trained.

  • […] In a case of truly disgusting behavior¬† – the brand new mural that the Vollies put up has already been defaced within TWO WEEKS of putting it up. […]

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