The Show Must Go On: John Halko Remembered
On January 2nd, the Central New York community lost one of the “good guys.” John Halko may not be a household name to many people, but he touched many lives in the local music community, as well as the business community and countless others who were fortunate enough to know him. If you’ve ever seen or even heard of the New York Flyers and the incredible show that came with every performance, then you know about the incredible work of John Halko. John was the man behind that amazing stage show. Not only was he a staple of the music community for decades (considered by many to be the 5th member of the New York Flyers), but John was also the owner and president of SERVPRO of North and East Onondaga County and Oswego County, a great friend to many, a generous contributor to several charities, as well as a beloved husband, father and son. John was and still is loved and admired by the CNY community.
Halko (as he was known to many), was a huge KISS fan and he took in as many KISS concerts as he could. He used that love of KISS as the inspiration to create the biggest and best live stage show that any CNY band has ever had. The New York Flyers had a reputation of having a “must see stage show” and everyone who saw them and the incredible show that came with the Flyers – have Halko to thank for creating and executing that show. CO2 cannons, incredible lighting, flaming drum sticks, smoking amps, flawless guitar changes, spotlights, countless other effects and the rain of confetti that signified the last song of every Flyers show; Halko was in charge of it all. Not only was he in charge of it, John was the stage manager of everything from front to back, being there from setup to tear down and creating a stage effect plot that brought everything together. Halko wasn’t just the stage manager, he truly loved the New York Flyers and they loved him. Halko could be seen singing the words of every song as he sat at his command center, running the show. Halko was THE MAN for The New York Flyers, coming out of “rock and roll retirement” to run every Flyers reunion show. Having worked with him on a few of those shows, I can tell you that I learned so much from John and he was truly one of the nicest guys that I ever had the privilege of calling friend.
John Halko wasn’t just a beloved member of the music community, though. As owner of SERVPRO, John was the kind of boss who really cared about his people, colleagues and customers, which came through in their feelings for him, as well. A successful businessman who used that success as a platform for his generosity, is how many will remember John. Some people might not realize the charitable outreach that Mr. John Halko was responsible for, but his selflessness didn’t stop at friends and family. He was a contributor to many charities, including organizing a Toys For Tots drive every Christmas at his Syracuse SERVPRO location, which he promoted tirelessly and appeared on local CNY radio station, TK99, every December to ensure everyone knew where to bring their donations and reach out to his community for help in making Christmas special for children in need. Another of John’s passions was raising money for his favorite charity, The Make A Wish Foundation and even in death; his wish is that in lieu of flowers, people make a donation to Make A wish.
In conclusion, I think we can all learn a little something from John. Four years ago, John endured a bone marrow transplant, after being diagnosed with leukemia. He didn’t use this as an excuse to give up or garner some sympathy. John’s positive attitude, generosity, kindness and humor were always at the forefront, even when he wasn’t feeling his best. As sad as it is that he was taken from all of us way too soon, everyone who knew him is the better for it and we all should be grateful for the time, be it all too short, that we spent with him. We will all remember his smile, his selfless acts and most of all the way he touched the heart of everyone he met. With a wink, a wry smile and a little bit of profanity, John Halko bids a fond farewell, until we see him again. One thing I can guarantee is that Heaven is going to have one hell of a stage show.
Ted Snyder / The Fuze Magazine
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