Wallingford fire officials remember volunteer firefighter who lost battle to cancer

Wallingford fire officials remember volunteer firefighter who lost battle to cancer

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WALLINGFORD — A longtime volunteer firefighter is being remembered as someone dedicated to serving the community.

Michael Cyganik died Thursday at the Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 55.

A lifelong town resident, Cyganik was also a chief lineman at Eversource Energy for 21 years and previously worked as a lineman for the Wallingford Electric Division for 11 years. 

Cyganik became a member of the East Wallingford Volunteer Fire Department Station 8 in 1981, according to Volunteer Fire Chief Bill Celata. Celata became friends with Cyganik early on and considered him “family.”

“He was very active and would do anything for anybody,” Celata said.

The volunteer fire department acknowledged Cyganik’s death in a Facebook post.

“Mike’s selflessness, firm handshake, and contagious laugh are legendary on the Eastside,” the post read. “His loss is a hard hit to the members, especially to those of us who came up in the fire service with or around him.”

Fire Chief Richard Heidgard said he met Cyganik in the 1980s.

“Mike was always a capable person mechanically,” Heidgard said. “He’s one of those very talented individuals who was always willing to roll up his sleeves to get involved in the community.”

Celata said Cyganik was willing to help the fire department and community in any way he could. In the 1990s, Cyganik stopped responding to fire calls but continued to work on the department’s social functions and fundraisers, including its annual flower sale.

“He was always there if someone needed anything,” Celata said.

Celata said Cyganik was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago. The volunteer department will be considering ways to honor his memory.

Cyganik was also a member of the Wallingford Elks Lodge for 38 years and a parishioner at the Church of the Resurrection. He is survived by his wife Tammy, sister and brother-in-law, Cheryl and Dean Perry, his mother-in-law, Gloria Coitrone, and many nieces and nephews.

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