Friends and family of Jeffrey F. Snaza gathered June 19 during a tree planting ceremony to pay tribute to the former Lancaster Volunteer Ambulance Corps member who died last year. A young red oak was planted on the east side of the corps’ property in Snaza’s memory. A granite stone at the tree’s base lists his name, years that he lived and squad number, “150.”
Snaza joined the corps in the early 1990s and later became its director of operations and director of maintenance. Snaza was also an assistant chief with the Niagara Falls International Airport Fire Rescue and past chief at Spring Brook Fire in Elma. Snaza died in June 2009 at age 44 after a long illness.
Snaza was dedicated to LVAC and community service, LVAC President Chet Popiolkowski said during the ceremony.
“He demonstrated to us the real meaning of responsibility, commitment, honor in what we do, duty in service and strength of character,” Popiolkowski said.
A poem called “The Dragonfly” was read in Snaza’s memory by U.S. Army Chaplain Linda Nosbisch, mother of LVAC member Brian Nosbisch. And Snaza’s parents, Ann and Tony of Elma, were presented with a glass dragonfly sculpture by corps members.
Nancy Thompson, Spring Brook chief, and LVAC board of directors members Greg Jankiewicz and Justin Ward also shared their memories of Snaza.
“He was a person I could go to anytime and talk about anything,” said LVAC member Todd Okoniewski, who co-organized the event.
Snaza understood that emergency medical service is serious and intense work, said Popiolkowski.
“But Jeff was always the one to calm a situation or put it in perspective because he always got to the heart of the matter by simply saying ‘It’s what we do,’” said Popiolkowski.
“Those four words are not a new phrase. Others have said it thousands of times. Maybe it was the way he said it or his body language, but when he spoke those four words he spoke volumes. And they had an impact on me.”
The tree was purchased from Adams Nursery in Lancaster and the stone was donated by Stone Art Memorial on Ridge Road in Lackawanna.