BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Berkeley Heights Fire Department held its annual Officers’ Installation Dinner at Mount Carmel Hall in Berkeley Heights on Jan. 3, which was well attended by department members and guests including Mayor Bob Woodruff and members of the council and town administration, Police Chief John DiPasquale, members of the Berkeley Heights Rescue Squad, Fire Chiefs of neighboring towns of Stirling, New Providence, Chatham Borough and Township, Watchung, Union County Mutual Aid Coordinator and Father Andy Prachar [who provided the invocation as Department Chaplain].
The ceremony included the swearing in of Chief Anthony Padovano, Fire Department President Mauro Iarussi and the oath of Administrative Officers and Firefighting Officers.
- Administrative Officers: Anthony Amiano, Vice President; Mike Schaumberg, Treasurer; Adam Uanis, Recording Secretary; Paul Imbimbo Jr., Financial Secretary.
- Firefighting Officers include: Jim Hopkins, Deputy Chief; Paul Imbimbo Jr and Chris Esposito, Battalion Chiefs; Dan Cuocci, Jan Chwiedosiuk, Mike Schaumberg as Captains; Chris Hogan, Kyle Robbins, and Matt Freudenberger as Lieutenants.
The Berkeley Heights Fire Department has seen 665 events in 2014, with an increase of structure fires, hazmat responses, motor vehicle accidents and accidents involving extrication out of vehicles, said Padovano.
"I look forward to working together with the Mayor, Town Council and Administrator acquiring necessary funding with this increased call volume," said Padovano.
Padovano described the scene of a recent "violent crash" on 78 that involved all Berkeley Heights' agencies working together as one unit.
"When I arrived on the scene, I saw our Police Department officers administering first aid, our EMS brothers and sisters were also caring for the patients, and the Fire Department in the process of cutting out the driver," said Padovano. "I am pleased to announce that all occupants are alive and recovering."
Padovano recognized the mutual aid fire fighters of neighboring towns including New Providence, Chatham Township, Stirling, Watchung and Summit -- "who are always there when called upon to assist us on the scene and to provide coverage at our firehouse."
Retired Deputy Clerk Linda Santillo received a standing ovation for her years of service as financial secretary. "You have had a direct impact in making my job, as the Chief of the Department, easier -- you will be greatly missed," said Padovano.
Department President Mauro Iarussi awarded outgoing 2014 Fire Chief Tom Delia with a plaque of appreciation for his dedication to the public safety and the people of the township of Berkeley Heights.
Iarussi awarded the President's Award to Anthony Padovano for his "endless effort" in making phone calls and asking for donations and to Jan Chwiedosiuk for his effort in putting together the car show.
- Firefighter and Department Treasurer Chuck McLuskey was recognized for 10 years of service.
- Lt. Matt Freudenberger was awarded with the Firefighter of the Year Award.
- Chief's Award was presented to Nancy Esposito-Renzulli and Battalion Chief Jim Hopkins for their hours spent gathering department operational information and letters of support from leading government officials to write the award winning Assistance to Firefighters Grant.
Captain Jan Chwiedosiuk presented the Vendor Appreciation Plaques to Sal Passalacqua of Dimaios Restaurant, Larry Cuocci of L&M Distributors, Dan Weltman of Weltman Home Services, and Spatz & Sons.