GALWAY, N.Y. (News)-Colleagues, friends and family of a beloved former fire chief and president of the Galway Volunteer Fire Company who died in a tragic crash are remembering him as a selfless public servant. Chief Chad Jazwinski took his job to heart, including the time he saved two sisters trapped in a car moments before it was struck by an oncoming train.
The 46 year old died Jazwinski died in motorcycle crash on September 10th. Mike Smith, the Galway Town Supervisor recalls his dedication to the fire service and his community. “Oh, yeah his family is here and his dad and his sister are involved in the EMS. Everybody knows the Jazwinski family,” he said.
Jazwinski was widely known for his 30 years as an active member the fire department and as a volunteer with Galway Emergency Medical Services. But for people like Bonnie Saltsman, he was a true hero in every sense of the word. “I think God for him, because who knows where we would be if he didn’t stop,” said Saltzman.
The story goes back to 2008, a few days before Christmas when Bonnie and her sister were returning home from holiday shopping when a deer darted out in front of their vehicle on Route 5 near Fonda. “She overcorrected and we ended up flipping over the car,” added Saltzman.
The doors would not open. She called 911 on her cellphone. What Bonnie and her sister didn’t know at the time was that the car had rolled over on some railroad tracks. And unbeknownst to them a train was barreling down the line, headed their way. But, as the cars on route 5 kept driving by, one of them stopped.
Chad Jazwinski, just happened to be driving through the area. He heard the call over the radio. And he located the crash site. “[He] opened the car door, helped me out help my sister out,” said Saltsman Chad radioed dispatch to alert the engineer, but trains can travel miles before they come to a stop and moments later they heard the train smashing into their car. “I couldn’t be more thankful for him driving down the road that day. For him stopping to, I guess jump into action.”
There is no doubt that Jazwinski’s quick thinking saved the two women from serious injury and possible death. Bonnie and her sister have their own families now and she shudders to think what their futures would have been had the chief not risked his own life to save theirs. She says her sister told her of about the chief’s own crash and his untimely passing. “It’s upsetting he I can only imagine how many lives he must’ve helped besides mine and my sisters that day. And I am sure he will be missed by many,” she added.
The obituary reads that a service will be held for Chad Jazwinski at the firehouse and he will be laid to rest in the Galway Village Cemetery.