Miller Place residents voted against change Dec. 13 when they took to the fire district and cast their vote in the commissioner race.
Carol Hawat, who has served in her position since 2001 on the board of fire commissioners, won her fourth five-year term with 242 votes against her challenger Guy Schneider, a lifelong firefighter in the community, who received 71 votes, according to Miller Place Fire District. This is the second time Hawat beat out Schneider, who ran against the incumbent in 2011. Schneider could not be reached for comment.
A full-time EMT supervisor at the Rocky Point Fire Department, Hawat has been an advocate for bringing more ambulatory services to the Miller Place community since she was first elected to the position.
Her extensive background in the EMS field has been a much-needed skill set, with 60 percent of the district’s total calls requiring urgent medical care, whether for those involved in motor vehicle accidents or in-home injuries, among others.
Hawat said she hoped to continue serving as commissioner because she considers herself the voice for the medical portion of the community. She said providing people with good quality care has been a lifelong passion.
“I feel like I make a difference,” she said. “I was raised to not walk by somebody who needs help … [I] help whoever needs it. … When I go on calls to a person’s house, they’re at their worst, they’re in pain, they’re worried, they’re scared … and to be able to help them, provide a friendly face and comfort and get them through that and bring them treatment, is very rewarding.”
Under Hawat’s leadership, the district provides top-of-the-line medical equipment, such as blood-pressure monitors, and 24/7 advanced life-support care — lifesaving protocols that extend support for its patients until hospital medical treatment is available. She said she’s helped supply whatever has been needed in the district, from new ambulances to fire trucks.
Rocky Point District Manager Edwin Brooks, who has known Hawat for many years as EMT supervisor, said it’s clear she’s the right person for the position.
“She’s very conscientious, very dedicated to her job, she’s hardworking and she cares,” he said. “Obviously she won by almost a 3-1 margin, so she must be doing her job. She’s been commissioner for quite a while.”
Josh Hagermann, Miller Place department chief, said Hawat is good for the community.
“I think she’ll [continue to] do well at the job she was elected for, and she’ll be helpful to the community,” he said. “She’s a very likable person.”
Hawat holds numerous CPR seminars at local schools and community centers to provide more education and awareness on what to do in emergency situations, and moving forward, she aims to do something similar to help stop the frequency of heroin overdoses in the area.
“I’m looking to be able to do classes on my own and go out there and provide more awareness of the drugs, educate people on how to know if someone is involved and provide Narcan [an opiate antidote] training at schools,” she said. “We have Narcan in the ambulance already.”
Her new five-year term begins Jan. 1, and will run through Dec. 31, 2021.