ASSEMBLYMAN SCHMITT HONORS SALUTE TO FIRST RESPONDERS VILLAGE OF HIGHLAND FALLS NOMINEE ARLA SMITH
Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R,C,I-New Windsor) held his inaugural 99th Assembly District Salute to First Responders event at the Orange County Emergency Services Center on September 16, 2019. This official State Assembly government event was created to recognize first responders from across the Assembly District who have made significant contributions to their communities and the 99th Assembly District.
The village nominated Arla James of the Highland Falls Fire Department to receive the Salute to First Responders Recognition. Arla was born in the Philippines, the oldest of 7 children and worked a variety of jobs to help support her parents -who she credits with teaching her the value of hard work. In 2005 Arla met and married her husband Tony and they moved to the United States, and she had her son Christopher Alex James. Arla became a US citizen in 2014 after working for a family that were officers in the US Army. She was inspired by their example, and wanted to become a US Citizen.
Shortly after, Arla’s husband Tony passed away and Arla became a single mother. After receiving an outpouring of support from the Highland Falls Community, Arla wanted to find a way to give back. A variety of volunteer experiences in the community lead her to the Highland Falls Fire Department. After completing the exterior course, Arla entered the Firefighter 1 course which she states was “extremely demanding because not only was she the shortest one there, she was the oldest. “I was often bruised and bloodied but I pushed myself with the encouragement of the other firefighters in the course that encouraged her to persevere. In June of 2018 Arla graduated the course.
Assemblyman Colin Schmitt stated, “I am so proud of all of the Salute to First Responder honorees. Arla James is well-deserving of this recognition. Arla has an inspiring story that speaks to her resilient character and determination to help those that have helped her. The Highland Falls community deeply respects Arla for her positivity and willingness to volunteer and give back. Keep up the great work and thank you on behalf of all residents of the 99th Assembly District!”
Arla James, Highland Falls Fire Department stated, “I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Village of Highland Falls for this nomination and Assemblyman Schmitt for hosting this award ceremony. It has truly been an honor in my life to serve and give back to the Highland Falls community that has supported me every step of the way.”
Colin Schmitt is committed to public service. Colin is a member of the U.S. Army National Guard and Assemblyman for the 99th NYS Assembly District which includes the Town of Stony Point in Rockland and The Towns of Wawayanda, Goshen, Hamptonburgh, Chester, Blooming Grove, New Windsor, Cornwall, Highlands and Woodbury. Colin lives in the Town of New Windsor with his wife Nikki and their beloved adopted Catahoula puppy Quincy!