Police & Fire

Clark Firefighter and Family Extend Gratitude to Brotherhood of Clark Fire Department

f28c84bd2aaeae0b8d6f_a3bef23adb139923e83e_7c3fbeff41cf7c482e40_IMG_9762.JPG
Members of the CFD brought Hendricksen his uniform to motivate him during his hospital stay. Credits: Helaine Searles
e8fc718a1238a8d5310f_DSCN1565.JPG
Hendricksen (back row, middle) threw the dinner with his mother, Helaine Sealres, to thank the CFD for their help after he was hit by a car last April. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
0ab5c7a9d1ae84581e74_DSCN1569.JPG
From left to right: Hendricksen's grandmother, Gail Mulligan; Hendricksen; his mother, Helaine Searles; his sisters, Nicollette and Jessica Hendricksen; and his father, Robert Hendricksen Sr. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
811f1cadc1482b421de7_DSCN1573.JPG
Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
4946b25a0e1f7545d566_DSCN1595.JPG
Hendricksen and Searles arranged for a resolution from the State Senate to be presented to Chief Frank Cerasa Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
e7332cb424a1b118652d_IMG_9758.JPG
Hendricksen, left, with his close friend, Ryan Might. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
d094b66d10fa392915d3_IMG_9767.JPG
Hendricksen was gifted a new Harley Davidson motorcycle jacket by the CFD after his first one was destroyed in the accident. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
f28c84bd2aaeae0b8d6f_a3bef23adb139923e83e_7c3fbeff41cf7c482e40_IMG_9762.JPG

CLARK, NJ – The  Clark Fire Department was full of surprises during a heartfelt dinner thrown by firefighter Robert “Bobby” Hendricksen and his mother, Helaine Searles, to thank the CFD for their help after Searles was in an accident last spring.

In April, Hendricksen was driving his motorcycle when he was struck by a car that ran a red light, resulting in multiple spine fractures, two broken kneecaps, a fractured skull, a nearly-severed foot and more.

“My doctors thought they’d have to amputate my foot,” Hendricksen said. “I was pretty messed up.”

Sign Up for E-News

Hendricksen spent nine weeks in the hospital and was visited regularly by members of the CFD, but it was Chief Frank Cerasa who went above and beyond. Cerasa delivered cases of food and drinks, arranged transportation, assisted the family financially and worked with the town council to set Hendricksen up with the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association Relief Fund.

“They’ve gone beyond any expectation you could ask of your family,” Hendricksen said. “You join the organization and they tell you it’s a brotherhood, but once you get to see it, it’s something else. They were beside me the whole way.”

The fire department extended their services, buying dinner for Hendricksen’s entire floor one night, visiting multiple times per week and delivering his uniform to motivate him through rehabilitation.

“One thing that really sticks is when the Chief and the Deputy Chief took me outside the hospital and told me ‘we’re not only here for Bobby, we’re here for your whole family,’” Searles said. “Those little words meant everything. They carried us through his recovery.”

Friday night’s dinner was planned by Searles and set up with the help of Hendricksen’s younger sisters, Nicollette and Jessica Hendricksen. Bobby’s father, Robert Hendricksen Sr. and grandmother, Gail Mulligan, attended the dinner as well.

“It was the worst thing that ever happened to me,” Nicollette said of the accident. “It’s still hard to see the changes, but it’s amazing that the CFD was there, because I couldn’t be.”

Nicollette, who lives in Florida, flew to New jersey immediately following the accident and again to attend the dinner. She postponed her wedding, scheduled for October, so her brothercan enjoy it.

“I called her, said ‘I think your brother’s dead’, and hung up on her,” Helaine said. “He was unresponsive. I couldn’t think.”

Nearly five months later, Hendricksen is progressing further than his doctors expected him to. Althought he’s still in rehabilitation for his foot, he hopes to become an active firefighter by December.

“He’s a great guy,”  said Chief Cerasa . “He’s one of the best we've got. One of the few who’s dedicated and caring.”

Cerasa insisted the dinner was too much. He was unaware that Searles and Hendricksen arranged for a resolution by the State Senate to be presented to him by Councilman Steven Hund, thanking him for his service.

“From the town council, we appreciate everything that you do and the time you put in for us,” Hund said.

In return, Cerasa and the rest of the CFD presented Hendricksen with a Harley Davidson motorcycle jacket, since his first jacket was destroyed in the accident.

“I don’t know what to say,” Hendricksen said, fighting back tears. “It’s better than the one I lost.”

The room, full of firemen, friends and family, burst into applause as Hendricksen tried on the jacket.

“If you do it again, the next one’s on you,” one guest joked. “But we hope that you don’t.”

----------

Want to highlight your business to potential customers in the place they come to for local news online every day?  We can help you TAP into that market.   Email eclee@tapinto.net to talk about how to bring more customers to your business.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Clark

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_855652b94dad7cfd1c72_mini_magick20180618-30381-1j0t0jb

Tue, July 17, 6:00 PM

Westfield Presbyterian Church, Westfield

Youth Mental Health First Aid

Education Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_574768912fb23a4cacc7_bfeb2b8d2a5b0913fb60_2f2194e6f686708fbbc3_pd_fd_bbq

Sat, July 28, 12:00 PM

Clark Recreation Center, Clark

Clark PD vs Clark FD BBQ Cook-Off

Food & Drink Police & Fire

Emma's Brick Oven to Host Your Favorite Pup

July 13, 2018

This Tuesday, July 17, Emma's Brick Oven will host your favorite pup at Kids Night Out! Kids can also enjoy face painting from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.   Come enjoy great food with  and make memories with the family.  .  

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 11, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

Ready to Pay College Tuition Bills?

So you've applied and been accepted and your child is heading off to college shortly.    Are you ready to pay the bill that is coming soon?  Take a listen to Chris Curran's video below as he gives suggestions of what you should be doing now so you are ready to pay the bill and don't forget to check out his book College Funding ...

Open Letter to Cranford Planning Board

July 9, 2018

Open Letter to Cranford Planning Board:

As you know, Hartz is scheduled to go before the Planning Board on July 18th.  Since last year, Hartz has postponed their meeting numerous times with no pushback that we can see whatsoever from the Planning Board.  

We are asking the Planning Board to direct the planning board attorney to send Hartz’s counsel a letter requiring that ...

Obituaries

Jun 29, 1927 - Apr 23, 2018
Margaret (Peggy) Kirk Leonard passed away Monday, April 23rd, surrounded by her loved ones. Peggy ...
Read more