The Kingsley and Varnerin families are no strangers to public service and volunteerism. Our interest started decades ago and not just recently with running for Town Council. Whether it’s helping with fundraisers, being involved with the local PTO’s, delivering food to the needy and first responders, coaching a sports team, or picking up trash around town, we find the time to be present for our community.
We know that volunteers are the backbone of many communities but especially to Berkeley Heights. Our volunteers tirelessly encourage our residents to “support local, eat local and shop local” through word of mouth, print and social media and our local TAPinto. Volunteers do extensive research on safety, street scapes, and sidewalks, successfully obtain grant funding to honor our Veterans, renovate parks and playgrounds, and tend to our natural environment. Volunteers seek to improve services for our seniors and children. Volunteers keep us and our properties safe, often putting themselves in harm’s way in the process.
Our volunteer First Responders are a critical resource for our town. Both the Rescue Squad and the Fire Department have been especially hard hit with declining membership in recent years. We have the utmost respect and support for our first responders, and they need our help now.
Jeanne has started various volunteer Committees because she knows that our future is built on the hard work of people who come together and share ideas. Our volunteer First Responders are a critical resource for our town. As a former Berkeley Heights Rescue Squad member Jeanne was a huge supporter of the LOSAP program. Jeanne strongly encouraged the fire department to participate in the LOSAP referendum, as this is the only established mechanism to provide some financial incentives to volunteer first responders. During Jeanne’s time in office, she has always been an ally and advocate for the Rescue Squad and Fire Department. Jeanne ensures their needs are met, and they have the resources to perform their duties safely.
Jeff was an EMT and firefighter for almost two decades. He has held the most senior leadership positions within those organizations and has first-hand experience to know the struggles and needs of the first responder community. He holds our first responders near and dear to his heart. Jeff knows what it’s like to be a volunteer; running into a burning building to save a life, or pulling all-nighters to assist another town and then turn around and go to his paid job at 7am. That is why Jeff didn’t sit on the side-lines in 2019 he publicly advocated for his support for the first responders LOSAP program in TAPinto.
We recognize that the Fire Department is currently experiencing declining enrollment and member retention difficulties. This is why we already started developing a plan to address the issue including assembling a list of all grants available, brainstorming ideas to expand and retain volunteers that have already worked for other towns, and researching a sound and fiscally responsible strategy to potentially provide an incentive program. The stability of our first responder volunteer membership ranks is something we all must support.
Ensuring that our volunteer organizations are successful is critical to the overall success and vibrancy of our community. Our future is built on the hard work of people who come together and share ideas and talents. Everyone is welcome, in our town we simply work hard to make a difference. Please join us. To share your ideas and learn more about us please visit https://bhstrong.com or email us at KingsleyVarnerin4BH@gmail.com to receive more information about how together we will continue to build the future of Berkeley Heights.
To get involved you can fill out an application for a board, committee or commission at https://www.berkeleyheights.gov/171/Forms-Applications