ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury’s longest-serving firefighter, Lou Bizzari of Ledgewood, will be honored in May with a special sign on the road where he lives.
Bizzari is 90 and he’s been a Roxbury firefighter for 69 years. The erection of a “street blade” on Mt. Arlington Boulevard would take place to coincide with him reaching 70 years of active service.
“He’s the oldest active member of the Roxbury Fire Department,” said Roxbury Fire Company #2 Chief Robert Hackett. “He doesn’t miss a call … We’ve gotta watch him at scenes; He’s out there pulling hose, spreading Speedy Dry on highways. He has a helmet and fire gear on. You would never know the man is 90 years old.”
The proposal to put up a street blade for Bizzari was made by Roxbury Councilwoman Jaki Albrecht at a recent meeting of the Roxbury Mayor and Council. The council endorsed the plan.
The street blade will be similar to one put up in 2015 on Mapledale Avenue in Succasunna to honor firefighter Sam Wilson.
Hackett, who also serves as director of Roxbury’s emergency management office, said he thinks the sign is a wonderful idea. “It would be a great honor to be bestowed on him,” said the chief. “He deserves it … He’s done it all as far as fire suppression, first aid, EMS in Roxbury.”
Bizzari has held many high-ranking positions in the fire department, including fire chief. In the 1960s he served as Company 2’s assistant engineer, engineer, lieutenant and captain, according to Hackett.
He said Bizarri was assistant chief of the full fire department in 1970, 1971 and 1972 and he became chief of the department in 1973.
“He served as a fire marshal for Roxbury for 25 years,” Hackett said. “In 2008, he was named Fireman of the Year by the New Jersey State Exempt Firemans’ Association. He has served as president, vice-president and treasurer of Roxbury Company 2 for more than 20 years. He’s a lifetime member of the Roxbury Township Relief and Exempt Association and, for 35 years, he’s been a member of the Roxbury Fire Department Memorial Committee.”
Bizzari, a lifelong Roxbury resident, also served in the military. He was a U.S. Army corporal who fought in the Korean War. “He was awarded the bronze star for action in two combat battles and he also holds the combat Infantry Badge,” noted Hackett.
Bizzari worked as postmaster of the Ledgewood post office. He and his wife have two children and two grandchildren.
Hackett, who’s known Bizzari for 42 years, said he finds the man’s energy and enthusiasm to be amazing. “He shows up to everything,” he said. “He never misses an event. Every activity - above and beyond just responding to calls - Lou is a part of.”