Morris County News

Call to Duty for Somerville Firefighters: A Visit to NJ Firemen's Home

9f2d04265971088c660d_sompixfiremenshomebiggroup.jpg
Somerville firefighters gather around former Somerville volunteers Charles Karbowski, seated left, and Alvin Falk, to his right. Credits: Ron Czajkowski
a56c4520135a7317014a_sompixfiremenshomefender.jpg
Rich O’Neill, former West End Hose Engine 3 chief and now director of the Somerville Firemen’s Museum, made the noisy 60-mile round trip to Boonton in the department open cab 1942 Mack pumper. Credits: Ron Czajkowski
132f0ade02a1738b8be5_sompixfiremenshometwoguys.jpg
Former Somerville firefighters Charles Karbowski, left and Alvin Falk were visited by 50 Somerville volunteers Saturday at the NJ Firemen's Home in Boonton. Credits: Ron Czajkowski
6edf2025134f9e54dde2_sompixfiremenshomegateway.jpg
First opened in 1898, the NJ Firemen's Home in Boonton is the only licensed healthcare facility in the state dedicated to the men and women of the New Jersey fire service. Credits: Ron Czajkowski
542241d3cc076360ce72_sompixfiremenshomegrill.jpg
Somerville West End Hose, Engine 3 firefighters David Vaughn, left and Glenn Thorne work the grill during Saturday's visit to the NJ Firemen's Home by 50 Somerville firefighters. Credits: Ron Czajkowski
56a220bfbfd0f131db54_sompixfiremenshomemoustache.jpg
Retired Somerville firefighter Alvin Falk enjoying Saturday's visit to the NJ Firemen's Home by 50 Somerville firefighters. Credits: Ron Czajkowski
895a1018ff3c56840128_sompixfiremenshomesmallgroup.jpg
Somerville firefighters visit with Charles Karbowski and Alvin Falk at the NJ Firemen's Home in Boonton. Credits: Ron Czajkowski
9f2d04265971088c660d_sompixfiremenshomebiggroup.jpg

BOONTON, NJ - The call to duty Saturday for 50 Somerville volunteer firefighters wasn’t about responding to an alarm or a training drill. It was driving the half hour to the New Jersey Firemen’s Home here to host a memorable outing for those who served before them.

A caravan of Somerville’s “bravest” gave up a good portion of their day to hold a barbecue picnic and share good times with residents at the Firemen’s Home, the only licensed healthcare facility in the state dedicated to the men and women of the New Jersey fire service. Two former Somerville firefighters, Charles Karbowski and Alvin Falk, now reside here.

Established in 1898 and located on the spacious grounds of the former Lathrop estate, the Firemen’s Home provides long term care and residential health services to 68 retired paid and volunteer firefighters from each of the state’s 21 counties.

Sign Up for E-News

“We never want to forget these guys. Just being with them, especially our two men from Somerville, makes them realize that they are still a part of us,” said Lincoln Hose Engine 4 member and former department chief Pat Weston, one of the event’s organizers.

“We try to get up here every few weeks to take Charlie and Alvin out to lunch or dinner, but the idea to do something like this barbeque for all the residents started over a cup of coffee and grew from there,” added Weston.

Each of Somerville‘s four companies; Central Hook and Ladder Truck 1; Lincoln Hose Engine 4; West End Hose Engine 3 and Engine Company 1 had members attending the picnic. The companies came together as a department in the planning process and covered the event’s costs through a car wash fundraiser and individual contributions.

For Karbowski and Falk, their stays here allow them independent living under the umbrella of 24-hour, seven day-a-week medical, nursing, therapy, dietary and recreational services. Both said that the nursing care, setting and recreational opportunities give them security and a comfort level to their daily living experiences.

“It’s beautiful here, the care, the food, the exercise we get,” said Karbowski, a resident for the past four years. “And, today is something special. This picnic means a lot, I’m seeing guys from Somerville today that I haven’t seen for a long time.”

Falk, a relative newcomer having come here in January, echoed Karbowski’s comments. “Of all the places like this to go to, this has to be one of the best in the country,” he said, rating his overall experience here as “pretty damned good.” He recently has taken advantage of the exercise program and looks forward to an upcoming trip to see a Yankee game.

According the Firemen’s Home Recreation Director Monica Story, a number of departments statewide commit time and resources to host outings such as today’s barbecue for the residents. “We get tons of loyal support from departments from throughout the state.” she said. “Just like Somerville here today, they all treat these guys like family.”

Other activities available to the residents on a regular basis include: movies, concerts, board games, and field trips. Management oversight is provided by a 21-member Board of Governors, with one member from each county. Somerset’s representative is Tom Sutphen, who comes from generations of Central Hook and Ladder Truck 1 firefighters.

Licensed and inspected by the state, the cost of living at the Home is $850 a month per resident. According to Sutphen, the monies are raised by a 2 percent revenue tax on out-of-state insurance companies doing business here, and included in the state budget.

Along with sharing in abundant food, music and the telling of great stories about “the way things used to be,” the Somerville contingent plans to return soon to construct wheelchair accessible garden beds that the residents can put to good use this fall and next spring.

Rich O’Neill, former West End Hose Engine 3 chief and now director of the Somerville Firemen’s Museum, made the noisy, open-cab effort to drive the 30 miles to Boonton in the department’s “retired” 1942 Mack pumper. At the end of the afternoon, he reflected not only on his upcoming ride back to Somerville, but on the meaning of the day.

“For all of us here today, we came to give a little back,” said O’Neill. “No matter how you look at it, we are all brothers.” 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Denville

10-Year Old Boy Battling Cancer Receives Generous Donation From Randolph Hockey Family

May 20, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- While the inter-town hockey battles on the ice between Randolph and Roxbury are fierce at every age level, when it comes to real life battles off the ice there is no hesitation to offer help to their neighbor.

Such is the case with a recent gesture of unity and support from the Randolph Varsity hockey team, when they came together to deliver good wishes and ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

Join the Fight, Morris: Water + 7 Days = Mosquitoes

May 23, 2018

With the sun finally expected to show itself starting tomorrow and over the Memorial Day weekend, Morris County residents can reduce the number of all mosquitoes, including the aggressive Asian Tiger variety, in their own backyards by taking action now.

The ankle-attacking, aggressive Asian Tiger variety transmits viral disease and bites all day long, unlike many other varieties that come out ...

May is Older Americans Month: Time to Give Back to Morris County’s Seniors Every Day!

May 23, 2018

The June 5th Primary has entered the home stretch.  For the first time in 8 weeks, there is no where I need to appear other than at the doorstep of a registered voter to ask for their support in the election booth.

Since I decided to pursue the open Freeholder seat in March, I have been all across Morris County.  I have been out and away from my family every day since, attending such ...

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...