BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater Township honored four firefighters who have been serving their community for over two centuries, combined.

Bridgewater Mayor Dan Hayes read separate proclamations honoring the quartet at a recent council meeting, before presenting those documents to each respective firefighter, with the aid of council president Christine Rose.

“The town is proud of its emergency responders,” Hayes said. “We have a strong history of volunteerism, and we’ve seen it in our fire departments.” 

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The four honored firefighters were Bob Forsythe, who has served since 1962; councilman Allen Kurdyla, on the job since 1967; Michael Montone, who got his start in 1959; and Doug Rue, who has been fighting fires since 1968.

Bridgewater has five separate volunteer fire companies, Finderne, Martinsville, Bradley Gardens, Green Knoll, Country Hills and North Branch, arranged among four districts.

Hayes also spoke of the Firemen’s Relief Association, which he said has been around over a century and assists firefighters and their families with an annual convention, a nursing home and even death benefits.

“Volunteer and career firefighters can both be members,” said Hayes of the association, which meets on a quarterly basis.

All told, the four firefighters honored have a combined 216 years of experience.

“It’s a real honor to be given these proclamations by the association to give to you,” said Hayes. “Thank you for your service.”

The firefighters were then feted as a group by the audience, including members of their own families.

“Thank you to everyone for being here this evening,” Kurdyla said.