ENDWELL (WBNG) — The Endwell Fire Department is remembering a long-time public servant as well as a man who devoted his life to protect and save others in the Southern Tier.
61-year-old Francis Pandich, Jr. died at home last week and now, his fellow firefighters are remembering him. From all accounts, Pandich was a man who made public safety his number one priority.
“He’s always had his heart and soul in the Endwell Fire Service,” Fire Commissioner Mickey Bush tells 12 News. “It’s truly what the volunteer fire service is about.” And as fire commissioner, Mickey Bush knows that first-hand.
The two met years ago and it wasn’t exactly what you might call a chance encounter. “Fran Pandich and I met October 22, 1982 when the Endwell arsonist lit my mother’s house up here in Endwell,” Bush recalls.
Apparently, Pandich and other firefighters made an impression on Bush. So much so that Bush joined the fire department the following year. Pandich spent decades at the Endwell Fire Department, 41 years in all.
He worked his way up the proverbial fire ladder making it to Assistant Fire Chief and Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners.
“Fran was my neighbor,” Rob Bradey, the President of the O.L. Davis Fire Company, told 12 News. Bradey lived less than a block away from Pandich. “He thought through things,” Bradey recalls.
“Before he made a decision, he looked at all the different aspects and thought through the process before he decided on something.” That could be why so many agree on the legacy Pandich leaves behind.
“His legacy, I think, it is an outstanding one because our vehicles, our apparatus are all up to snuff, top line,” Bradey said. “Our equipment, manpower, we’re in pretty good shape.”
Leaving his community in pretty good shape as a love for fellow man that outshined all. A memorial service will be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Allen Memorial Home in Endicott. Calling hours are at 5 p.m.