In Memoriam DOMENICO "DOMINICK" MELILLO, 1934-2017
 
By Lieutenant of Rescue Raymond Baker Jr.
September 30, 2017
 

Domenico "Dominick" Melillo, a beloved 38-year veteran of the Golden’s Bridge Fire Department whose actions and dedication exemplified what it means to serve community, died on September 26, 2017. He passed away peacefully at his Golden’s Bridge home surrounded by loved ones. Dominick was 83.

Described by his peers as one of the most dedicated fireman in the history of the Golden’s Bridge Fire Department, Dominick will be remembered as someone who led by example, and for his passion for faith, family, community and the Department. He was genuinely committed to helping others in their greatest time of need.

The Fire Department was planning to bestow special “life member” recognition on Dominick to honor his long and active tenure. The recognition will now be presented posthumously to his family in October.

At the time of his death, Dominick was an active member, serving for the past seven years as Lieutenant of the Department’s Fire Police – a specially trained, New York State-certified brigade with police powers that supports efforts at the scenes of all emergencies.

Dominick was a fixture at the scenes of fires, vehicle accidents, and storm-related and other emergencies – among other tasks, providing traffic control and protecting the safety and well being of the public and Fire Department personnel.

His affection for the Department was second only to his love for family. He combined the two into a family legacy whose pinnacle came in January of 2017, when he experienced his personal dream come true – witnessing his 16-year-old grandson, Brendan, become the third-generation Melillo to be inducted into the Golden’s Bridge Fire Department.

His influence on sons Michael, Albert and Robert was profound. Michael is a member and former President of the Department; Albert currently serves as the Department’s Fire Chief, and Robert (Brendan’s father) is an ex-Fire Chief and currently serves on the Fire District’s Board of Fire Commissioners.

Dominick moved his family to the hamlet of Golden’s Bridge in 1974. Shortly thereafter, a neighbor introduced him to the prospect of becoming a volunteer fireman. Dominick was immediately captivated by the camaraderie and family environment among members, as well as the many opportunities that being a volunteer fireman had to offer – particularly the impact on the Golden’s Bridge community and thousands of residents.

After 12 years as a fireman, he served four years in the officer ranks as a Fire Lieutenant. Dominick joined the Fire Police in 1995 and spent the last seven years as Lieutenant.

Dominick always called the Fire Department his second home, and members were his extended family – which is why his involvement grew beyond firematic-related positions. At the time of his death, he was one of the resident chefs and the head of the Firehouse kitchen committee.

Many considered him a gourmand because his culinary skills were wide-ranging, as he was famously known for creating extravagant four-course Italian meals and sumptuous roasts of prime ribs and turkey. He made sure Department members were well fed after training drills and at various events, and that there was a hearty bounty at community events and special meetings hosted by the Department for such organizations as the New York State Fire Chiefs Association.

Dominick also served on the Christmas tree sale committee, working several hours a day during the month-long annual sale, often seen tying trees to car roofs and suiting up in a Santa outfit, waving to passing motorists on Rt. 138 to stimulate business.

Christmas was a special time of year for Dominick, both at the Department and in the Melillo household. He was the man inside the Santa suit at the Department’s annual community children's Christmas party, doling out bags of treats to youngsters as he listened to their wish list. He also took great pride in decorating the Firehouse – and he adorned his own home with thousands of lights, creating the perfect spirit for large family gatherings.

Born on July 17, 1934 in a small town in Italy in the port city of Bari, Dominick, after serving in the Italian military, was assigned to the Polizia Municipale, the municipal police force in Italy, in Venice. It was there that he met and fell in love with an American tourist, Angela Blasetti, his bride of 52 years until her passing in 2013.

After a romantic wedding in Venice, Dominick came to the U.S. for the first time when the couple settled in Angela’s hometown of Yonkers

 
Dominick during our 100th Anniversary.
Dominick during our 100th Anniversary.
Dominick's gear rack at the firehouse.
Dominick's gear rack at the firehouse.
 
 A memorial set up on Rescue 25, with his fire gear.
A memorial set up on Rescue 25, with his fire gear.
Another angle of the memorial, showing the flag at half mass.
Another angle of the memorial, showing the flag at half mass.
 
 The memorial with the flag and our sign in the backround in Honor of Dominick.
The memorial with the flag and our sign in the backround in Honor of Dominick.
A updated memorial which will remain outside the firehouse till Tuesday.
A updated memorial which will remain outside the firehouse till Tuesday.