Great Neck has the second-largest Persian population in

Great Neck has the second-largest Persian population in the United States and the Vigilant Fire Department has taken notice. About 25 percent of its members, including 2nd Cpl. Aharon Benelyahoo, 22, speak Farsi and provide a comforting and familiar face to many immigrants in the tight-knit community. (May 10, 2011) Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The Great Neck Vigilant Engine and Hook & Ladder Co. looks like any other volunteer department. Freshly waxed red fire trucks shine in the firehouse garage. Rows of firefighting gear hang neatly inside. Stickers of storks carrying babies embellish the ambulances, marking the tally of onboard deliveries. But behind the traditional emergency response trappings is a force that reflects the changing community it serves: about 25 of the 100 volunteer members are Persians.

Great Neck has the second-largest Persian population in
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Great Neck has the second-largest Persian population in the United States and the Vigilant Fire Department has taken notice. About 25 percent of its members, including 2nd Cpl. Aharon Benelyahoo, 22, speak Farsi and provide a comforting and familiar face to many immigrants in the tight-knit community. (May 10, 2011)

2nd Corporal Aharon Benelyahoo, 22, of the Great
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

2nd Corporal Aharon Benelyahoo, 22, of the Great Neck Vigilant Fire Company, provides a comforting and familiar face to many Persian immigrants in the second-largest community of its kind in America. (May 10, 2011)

Justin Sachmechi, 21, is 1st Lieutentant in the
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Justin Sachmechi, 21, is 1st Lieutentant in the Great Neck Vigilant Fire Company, where 25 percent of the members speak Farsi as they serve the second-largest Persian population in the United States. (May 10, 2011)

Firefighter Joshua Banilivy, 18, of the Great Neck
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Firefighter Joshua Banilivy, 18, of the Great Neck Vigilant Fire Company, hangs up his uniform after responding to a call. Great Neck has the second-largest Persian population in the United States and about 25 percent of the fire department's members speak Farsi, providing a comforting and familiar face to many immigrants in the tight-knit community. (May 10, 2011)

Firefighter Joshua Banilivy, 18, of the Great Neck
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Firefighter Joshua Banilivy, 18, of the Great Neck Vigilant Fire Company, responds to a medical emergency call in Great Neck with several colleagues. (May 10, 2011)

1st Lieutenant Justin Sachmechi, 21, and firefighter Joshua
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

1st Lieutenant Justin Sachmechi, 21, and firefighter Joshua Banilivy, 18, respond to a medical emergency call in Great Neck, which has the second-largest Persian population in the United States. (May 10, 2011)

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