BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Mayor Joe Bruno, on behalf of the Township Council, thanked and honored Fire Chief Tony Padovano, Jr. for his years of dedication, service and heroism while serving as chief of the Berkeley Heights Fire Department. Fellow firefighters, family and friends celebrated with the chief at a reception during Tuesday's council meeting.
"Tony has been a beacon of our community, he gets us through these ordeals and does it with the highest of integrity and honor," said Bruno. Padovano has been instrumental in receiving reimbursements of $750,000 of grant money between the Fire Department and Police Department due to his diligence of filing FEMA and disaster relief paperwork and follow-up.
Padovano, standing with his wife, Olga, by his side, accepted a framed proclamation stating the Chief's accomplishments while he served as the Chief of the Berkeley Heights Fire Department from May 2006 until the end of 2013.
- Implemented direct mutual aid agreements.
Superior organization skills and knowledge to deploy crews during emergencies.
- The Berkeley Heights Fire Department notably responded to the 2012 Burry Biscuit fire in Elizabeth with 23 consecutive operational hours working alongside dozens of fire departments from four different counties.
- Established comprehensive firefighter and officer training requirements.
- Expanded the Fire Department's ranks through a rigorous recruitment and retention program that focused on high school and college students.
- Padovano directed the township's Office of Emergency Management through numerous natural disasters, including the 2010 Blizzard, Hurricane Irene, the Halloween Storm and Hurricane Sandy. Filed reports to obtain FEMA disaster relief money for the township.
- Directed the establishment of the Fire Department's technical rescue team which provides confined space, water, ice, vehicle and elevator rescue services to both the public and private industries.
"This is a fine conclusion for everything I have given up. I look forward to continuing the working relationship I have with the Mayor and the Council from an OEM standpoint. I thank my wife for all of the sacrifices she has endured over the years. The firefighters, the true foundation of the department that has made me where I am today," said Chief Padovano.