SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – United States Senator Robert Menendez and Congressman Donald Payne Jr. paid a visit to the village firehouse on Wednesday to announce the awarding of a $339,600 federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant to the South Orange Fire Department that will be used to hire two new firefighters.
Village President Alex Torpey opened up the remarks, noting that the Village maintains its strong commitment to public safety, commending the fire department for always being on the cutting edge of technology. “We could not be prouder of the work that they do,” Torpey said. “I want to extend a special thank you to former Chief Jeff Markey for his leadership over the years of service he has been here, as well as our current Chief Shoemaker and all of the men and women of our fire department, police department and rescue squad, all the first responders that work to keep us safe.”
Jeff Markey spoke on behalf of the fire department and said he has tremendous respect for the people he worked with there. “The grant we are here to receive will send a message to our firefighter saying ‘We share your concerns, we hear you and we care about you,’” Markey said.
Payne recalled the night of the Seton Hall fire and said that the grant received today, “will assure that the South Orange Fire Department is well staffed, trained and equipped to respond in times of disaster, keeping both our first responders and our community safer.”
Menendez commended chiefs Markey and Shoemaker for crafting a grant application that was easy to support. “Chief Markey once said something that I am reminded of, which was that we can have all the greatest equipment in the world, we can have the most advanced fire stations, but that equipment does not move and the fire station doesn’t operate unless you have the personnel necessary to take that equipment and make it a life saving apparatus,” Menendez said. “And that means having firefighters in a capacity enough to meet the challenges of a community.”