02/17/14 6:02pm
02/17/2014 6:02 PM
COURTESY PHOTO | Southold volunteer fireman Frank Locrotondo

COURTESY PHOTO | Southold volunteer fireman Frank Locrotondo, who died overnight Sunday.

Frank Locrotondo Jr. filled a lot of roles during his decades of service in the Southold Fire Department.

He was an EMT and a member of the dive team. He became a captain and a mentor to his fellow volunteers. He was even the bass drum player in the department’s band, a fitting job.

“The bass drum is kind of the beat of the band and that’s how he was,” said Fire Chief Bill Byrnes. “He was the heartbeat of the department.” (more…)

08/11/13 12:00pm
08/11/2013 12:00 PM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Frank Locrotondo with his wife, mother, children and grandchildren at a Southold Fire Department fundraiser. Frank is suffering from a form of dementia.

More than 700 local residents attended a fundraiser Saturday night for Frank Loctrotondo, a longtime Southold Fire Department volunteer and emergency medical technician suffering from a form of dementia.

“I think it’s awesome that everybody came out and supported this effort,” said Peggy Killian, the first assistant chief of the department, who organized the event along with former chief Bill Witzke.

Mr. Locrontondo has been a member of the Southold Fire Department since moving to the area in 1991 and was the department’s Firefighter of the Year in 1997 and EMT of the Year in 2003. He attained the rank of Captain. He also was an EMT instructor for Suffolk County and volunteers say he was a mentor to others in the department. Mr. Witzke credits him with saving the life of a newborn infant who wasn’t breathing five years ago.

In October 2011, Mr. Locrotondo was diagnosed with frontal temporal dementia at the age of 54, and the condition has worsened since then. His family says he doesn’t speak often, and is difficult to understand when he does.

Suddenly, the man who was known for helping others, was in need of help himself. Ms. Killian said they begun planning Saturday’s fundraiser for Mr. Locrotondo in April.

The fundraiser featured burgers, hot dogs, chicken, music from the band Just Groovin’, and more than a dozen tables of Chinese Auction items that were donated by local businesses, said Ms. Killian, who also co-owned Eastern Tire in Southold with Mr. Locrotondo for 13 years before his illness forced him to step down.

Mr. Locrotondo attended the fundraiser Saturday, as did family members.

His son, Dan, said he expected the big turnout.

“He was a very big part of the department and the community,” he said.

“It’s amazing,” said Tisha Larsen, Mr. Locrotondo’s daughter, of the turnout. “I can’t believe all the donations to the Chinese auction.”

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07/25/13 11:57am
07/25/2013 11:57 AM

COURTESY PHOTO | Southold volunteer fireman Frank Locrotondo

Over the past 20 years many people caught a glimpse of Southold Fire Department volunteer Frank Locrotondo.

It might have been as he marched down Main Road playing the bass drum during a parade. Or perhaps when he was helping someone involved in a motor vehicle accident. Or responding to one of many other emergencies or fires.

Mr. Locrotondo has served as a firefighter and EMT since moving to Southold with his wife, Cindy, in 1991.

But in October 2011, at age 54, he was diagnosed with frontal temporal dementia, forcing the man whose passion was helping others and his community to hang up his uniform. The disease has progressed quickly since then. He’s also had to give up from his work at Eastern Tire in Cutchogue, which he co-owned for 13 years with Southold first assistant chief Peggy Killian.

Known for his “larger than life” personality, Mr. Locrotondo had become a fixture around the department’s firehouse, said Ms. Killian. He received an advanced level of EMT training for critical care situations, making him the guy others looked to in emergency situations.

Former fire chief Bill Witzke said one such instance stands out in his mind.

About five years ago he and Mr. Locrotondo were called to a home on Town Harbor Lane. A woman was going into labor.
By the time the two arrived, she had given birth to a boy, but the baby wasn’t breathing.

A panicked father handed the infant to Mr. Locrotondo, who started CPR, Mr. Witzke said. He helped save the boy’s life.

“He’s the guy you turn around and say, ‘Thank God Frank’s here,’ ” he said. But now, he added, “There is a void; he was a good part of this organization.”

Katherine Meehan, an EMT, said Mr. Locrotondo was a mentor to all of the department’s emergency medical response volunteers. He trained beginner EMTs as an instructor though Suffolk County Emergency Medical Services.

“It was beyond training,” she said. “When we used to see Frank, a sense of relief would come over us.”

When assessing a person in need of emergency medical care, she and fellow EMTs would follow the commonly known ABCs – checking the patient’s airway, breathing and circulation. “Then we had step D – pray that Frank would come,” Ms. Meehan said. She had been learning from him for the last eight years, she said.

Mr. Locrotondo was named Firefighter of the Year in 1997 and EMT of the Year 2003, and both Ms. Killian and Mr. Witzke said he would likely have become the department’s chief one day.

He has been married for 33 years, having met his wife when he was 15. Both attended Kings Park High School and used to travel to the East End as teenagers. The couple has four children.

The family hopes to care for Mr. Locrotondo at home as long as possible; one of his daughters and her husband have moved in to help.
To raise much needed financial support, the fire department will host an “old-fashioned cookout” with live entertainment by Just Groovin’ on Saturday Aug. 10, from 6 to 11 p.m. at the main firehouse. All profits going to the Locrotondo family.

Tickets are $50 apiece and include a full barbecue of chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers with corn and side salads. Beer and wine will be served, and are included in the price, and there will be a chinese auction.

For tickets or more information, stop by the firehouse at 55135 Main Road in Southold. Those who would like to make a cash donation or donate items for the auction can drop them at the department or call Ms. Killian at 631-734-7395.

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