Jack Canori

Cle Elum Fire Chief Dave Campbell pins a badge to the shirt of Jack Canori on Feb. 29, naming him honorary fire chief. Cle Elum Mayor Charles Glondo is pictured in the background. Canori, who is battleing lung cancer, spent most of his adult life assisting the Cle Elum Volunteer Fire Department. (Contributed by Ingrid Butler)

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Cle Elum native Jack Canori spent most of his adult life assisting the Cle Elum Volunteer Fire Department, and last week the city and the fire department honored his commitment by dedicating Feb. 29, 2012, as Jack Canori Day.

Canori, who is battling lung cancer, was bestowed with the title of honorary fire chief.

Canori’s dedication has  been honored twice. The first recognition took place at last week’s regular Cle Elum City Council meeting, where Cle Elum Mayor Charles Glondo read an official proclamation making Canori an honorary fire chief and declaring Jack Canori Day on Feb. 29.

Canori and his family were unable to attend the Council meeting, so the Cle Elum Volunteer Fire Department hosted a ceremony Wednesday evening in the department’s Fire Station 51 on Pennsylvania Avenue. About 40 to 50 people gathered to watch the ceremony, during which Glondo presented Canori with a certificate to mark Jack Canori Day, and Cle Elum Fire Chief Dave Campbell gave Canori a gold fire chief’s badge.

History

The Cle Elum Fire Department runs in Canori’s blood. His father, Che Canori, served as chief of the Cle Elum Fire Department, and Canori, now in his 60s, became involved with the department at a young age. Canori spent most of his life in Cle Elum, only moving away to live with his sister in Ellensburg after his parents passed away.

Canori is well known in Cle Elum for serving as the fire department’s Santa Claus during Christmas Eve events, with his mother playing the part of Mrs. Claus. After passing out candy to eager children at the fire station, Canori, dressed as Santa Claus, distributed candy and holiday cheer around town.

In his younger years, Canori operated the fire department’s alarm system. When the department received a call, it was his job to ring a bell that would alert other department members. The department gave Canori the opportunity to sound the alarm Wednesday.

 Glondo’s Sausage provided refreshments after the approximately 20-minute-long ceremony Wednesday and, following the event, audience members visited and swapped stories.