Area Firefighters Become Volunteer Farmers to Help Family of Late Colleague
Firefighters from all over Central New York and the Southern Tier are helping out at the Cortland County farm of a fellow firefighter who recently died from injuries suffered in an off-duty traffic accident.
Syracuse.com reports 48-year-old Stephen Zelsnack was driving back from a farm supply store in Cayuga County on November 30 when New York State Police say his pickup truck collided with a tractor-trailer. The driver of the tractor trailer was not hurt.
Zelsnack died Friday, December 21 at a Syracuse hospital.
After the accident, his friends and colleagues at the Cortland Fire Department began volunteering at Zelsnack's 228-acre farm near Marathon that he and his brother, who is also a firefighter, bought from their father. The colleagues from departments that also include units in Broome and Chenango Counties are working to care for the family's livestock, which include 100 beef cattle, dozens of sheep, pigs and some chickens.
The volunteers are signed up to work in shifts, twice a day, through the beginning of the year. The family had not made a decision on the future of the farm.
According to the report, Stephen Zelsnack’s son is also a firefighter in Binghamton.
Zelsnack’s funeral will be held December 29.