In volunteer fire departments in small towns everywhere, generations of families are not difficult to find on the rolls, past and present. Sons follow fathers into the same fire company, learning the ropes and working on hose lines together. More unusual is a son becoming a chief while his old man is still an active member, and rarer still, particularly here on the South Fork, is finding such a duo of African-American descent.
In April of last year, Jamalia Hayes became the first black chief in the East Hampton Fire Department when he was elected to the position of second assistant chief. His father, Dudley Hayes, who joined the department in 2002, three years before his son, could not be prouder to serve under him.