Mohawk Fire Corps named for Montgomery

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

By Donna Thompson, Herkimer Telegram

The Mohawk Fire Corps has a new name.

The Mohawk village board voted at a meeting Monday to approve a request from the group to change the name of the group to the Mohawk Fire Corps, Harry Montgomery, Sr. Chapter in honor of Montgomery, a charter member of the group, who was killed in the March 13 shooting in Mohawk.

Fire Corps President Barb Bellstedt was on hand for the meeting and said the group had met the day after the shooting and discussed the name change. She said Montgomery was a charter member of the organization and was very active in the group.

Bellstedt explained the Mohawk Fire Corps was formed after the 2006 floods and members don’t fight fires, but assist in other ways such as cleaning up at the station after a fire and helping with fundraising activities for the hose company. Some members also serve as fire police. The corps operates when activated by the fire chief or acting chief.

Memorial walk

Bellstedt also said she is working to organize a walk on May 18 from Mohawk to Brookwood Park in Herkimer in memory of the shooting victims from both communities.

She said she has been in touch with the Montgomery family and family members are grateful for all that has been done, but don’t want those who died to be forgotten.

“This would be a time of healing to come together,” said Bellstedt.

The village board gave its OK for the event.

Bellstedt said she would also be seeking the approval of Herkimer village officials.

Harry Montgomery, Sr., of Mohawk, and Michael G. Rancier, of Herkimer, were killed at John’s Barber Shop in Mohawk the morning of March 13 when Kurt Myers entered the shop and began shooting.

Also shot were John Seymour, owner of the John’s Barber Shop, who is recovering at home, and Dan Haslauer, a customer.

The series of events began a short time earlier when the Herkimer County 911 center received a call about a residential call at 32 S. Washington St., where Myers lived.

After the shooting at the barbershop, Myers drove to Gaffey’s Fast Lube in Herkimer, where he shot and killed Thomas Stefka, an employee at Gaffey’s, and Michael L. Renshaw, a 20-year veteran of New York State Corrections. He then drove to the former Glory Days on North Main Street, where he remained until law enforcement officers entered the building the following morning and shot and killed him.

Investigators went through Myers’ cell phone, but discovered no answers as to why the 64-year-old man went on a shooting spree.

Myers still had 50 live rounds of 12-gauge ammunition and another 45 rounds in his vehicle when he was killed, according to county District Attorney Jeffrey Carpenter. 

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