Robert J. Hartmann was born on a potato farm in Plainview in 1933. He attended St. Ignatius Elementary School in Hicksville and St. Dominick’s High School in Oyster Bay. In 1952, Robbie joined the Plainview Fire Department and rose to the rank of Assistant Foreman. In 1954 he married, moved to new farms in St. James and Stony Brook and joined the St. James Fire Department, with whom he spent many years with the St. James ‘Wildcats’ drill team. In 1962, he was a co-founder of the St. James Sportsman Club and currently serves as President. He served numerous years as an officer of the New York State Potato Club and the Long Island Farm Bureau. Additionally, he is a past-President and currently serving as an officer of the Long Island Cauliflower Association. Robbie has also been active in the St. John the Evangelist Church in Riverhead, where he has served as an usher for the last 32 years. In 1972, he was appointed by the Suffolk County Board of Supervisors to serve on the Vocational Education Extension Board. Robbie served as Vice-President from 1985 to 1989 and as President from 1989 to 2003. On December 31, 2016, Robbie retired from the VEEB.
– Fire News photos by John Jordan