LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – What does it say about a person who had to be replaced by two people? Among other things, it likely means that the person being replaced leaves a long legacy behind, one that won’t be forgotten easily. On a cloudy Wednesday morning at Warren County Municipal Center, one such legacy was marked with a plaque on a building, both of which are part of the story.
County employees, police and friends gathered on Wednesday to commemorate the work of Brian LaFlure, who retired in 2021 after 12 years serving as both Warren County’s fire coordinator and emergency services director – and 40 years working at Warren County altogether. To mark the occasion, a building he pushed to have constructed now bears his name.
“If anyone needs a lesson in tenacity, Brian LaFlure was tenacious in getting this building built,” said Warren County Administrator Ryan Moore. “He convinced all of us that it was the right thing to do. I’m very pleased to see it standing with your name on it, Brian.”
The building in question is a six-bay garage, constructed in 2020 to house equipment and emergency vehicles used by the county Office of Emergency Services. Everything that goes in the building is used to respond to disasters, handle hazardous materials or tackle other emergencies Warren County may face. It took $400K to build, funded by the sale of county property in Queensbury, and around a decade of pushing to get the new home for county materials put in place.
On Wednesday, a cap was put on that work with the unveiling of a plaque, declaring the structure the Brian LaFlure Emergency Services Building. To LaFlure himself, the project has been a monument to the work he and the department do.
“It’s a testament to the equipment that we have, the equipment that we’re going to have, and being able to maintain that,” LaFlure said, taking the microphone for a few words following the unveiling. “That’s kind of where I’m at this. I am a little humbled by today, but as you all know, emergency services has been my life.”
He’s not kidding. LaFlure recounted joining a local fire department on his 18th birthday.
“I’m not going to tell you how long ago that was,” he said, patting his gray hair. “It’s been a long time.”
Enough responsibility to go around
LaFlure had originally hoped to retire at the start of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic created new challenges, and those challenges prompted the county to ask for him to stay. However, there was one major challenge Warren County had faced even besides the pandemic; how to fill the gap LaFlure would leave.
LaFlure’s replacement for emergency services management was Ann Marie Mason, appointed in October 2020. A few months later, Jay Ogden was hired as the county’s new fire coordinator, in February 2021.
The path from one person to the next is complicated when important county roles need to be filled. As Brian LaFlure leaves his own responsibilities to Mason and Ogden, a familiar voice was part of Wednesday’s event, through the voice of Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Rachel Seeber.
“‘I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor than my friend Brian LaFlure,'” Seeber read from a message written by Marv Lemery, Warren County’s previous Emergency Services director, and the man who hired LaFlure. “‘It was easy for me to recommend Brian to replace me as director of emergency services and fire coordinator. We worked together for over 40 years between the Queensbury Central Fire Department and the Warren County Bureau of Fire. He was always the go-to guy, who would give you 110% on whatever he was asked to do.'”
As Wednesday’s brief ceremony drew to a close, Seeber pointed out that LaFlure managed to unite the county to a degree that isn’t always easy to do.
“You got this entire board to agree, together, to pass a resolution honoring you, and it was unanimous,” she said.