Kenneth Okvist, 48, Lake Ronkonkoma
How long have you lived in Ronkonkoma? 48 years.
How long have you been a member of the Ronkonkoma Fire Department? I’ve been a fireman for 28 years. My grandfather joined the department in 1926. I’m the third generation and my daughter is the fourth. We are the only fourth generation family in the department.
I’ve been told that the fire deparments are an important factor in this community, do you feel that way? They are the most important one.
How so? We’re here in good times and of course, all your bad times. We give back. We are constantly giving for the people in this district.
Why did you decide to stay in Ronkonkoma as you got older? My good friends and all my family stayed here. And I’m not a city person. I just wouldn’t go anywhere else.
What is it about the area that makes you all love it so much? For the longest time, there wasn’t much to love. But it’s coming back. Younger people are moving in. There is more going on. It’s just a nicer place to live than it was 20 years ago.
How would you define the character of the community? Pride. A lot of pride is coming back. People are proud of Ronkonkoma and you can see it and feel it with all of these community groups that are coming up to help make the place better.