BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad, in its 75th year, held their annual dinner dance and installation of officers Friday night at Berkeley Plaza. Several members were recognized for their dedication and life-saving work.
Along with the members, many supporters of the all volunteer Rescue Squad were in attendance including Mayor Robert Woodruff, Council Vice President Jeanne Kingsley, Police Chief John DiPasquale, Fire Chief Anthony Padovano, Fire President Anthony Amiano, Fire Vice President Mauro Iaurusi, OEM Coordinator Dan Cuocci and members of the Summit, Scotch Plains, New Providence, Long Hill Township Rescue Squads.
Incoming officers include: Samantha Lloyd as Chief, Donna Foster as Deputy Chief, Toni Gestone as First LT Training, Bill Schulz as Second LT Equipment, Kevin Jow as Second LT Supplies, Joe Plocinski as Second LT Vehicles, Howie Meyer as President, Joe Savino as Vice President, Peggy Dendinger and Jane Brown as Recording Secretary, Arlene Burnett as Secretary Corresponding, Jim Cline as Treasurer, and Ori Sternberg, Tom Pirone and Tim Brown as Trustee.
Mayor Robert Woodruff swore in the officers and thanked all of the Rescue Squad members for their dedication. "We take great pride in Berkeley Heights in our volunteers," said Woodruff. "There is no group that exemplifies that more so than this group and you should all be congratulated. -- Your elected officials appreciate what you do."
Woodruff took a moment to recognize former Councilman Tom Pirone and EMT, whose term expired and did not run for another council term. "He has been a valued member of the council and we will miss him," said Woodruff. "He has been important to this town in many ways and certainly was as an elected official."
The Squad had a year of unexpected change when Chief Noel Genko became ill and needed to step down and Sam Lloyd stepped up in his position. Lloyd thanked her officers and squad for "stepping up when unexpected changes occurred were in need," she said. "Membership numbers are down, which meant they had to pull together and work harder." The members of the squad make their service a priority in their busy lives. She added, "Our town is very privileged to have such dedicated and caring volunteers."
Lloyd thanked the Berkeley Heights Fire Department and Police Department, who work as a partnership with the squad, as well as the mutual aid support from neighboring towns. "We are a Rescue Squad family of Berkeley Heights," said Lloyd. "Let's continue to build that family and provide great service for our community."
The all-volunteer squad that consists of 31 members riding, 12 cadets and 9 auxiliary members answered 835 calls in 2016, as well as had a presence at the many community events throughout the year.
Members were recognized for their selfless dedication to the squad.
- Chief's award was presented to Joe Savino.
- President's award was presented to Annette Tucker
- Five Year Service Award was presented to Timothy Brown, Samantha Lloyd, Gerry Peyton, Joseph Plocinski, Monica Poulos, Narkiss Sternberg
- Top Call Awards were presented to:
- Associate level: Mary DiPasquale with 95 calls
- College level: Allie Deegan with 72 calls
- Cadet level: Nicole Segalini with 37 calls and Michaila Kaufman was recognized as runner-up
- Top Backup Calls award was presented to Joe Savino, Allie Deegan and Howie Meyer
- Training Award recognized Bill Schultz for his work with the squad and the community
- Overlook EMS Award was previously presented to Joe Plocinski
- BHVRS Scholarships were previously awarded to Sama Machanda and Michaila Kaufman.