WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - The Borough of Wood-Ridge Council and Mayor Paul Sarlo honored Ronald Phillips Sr. for 50 years of service to the Wood-Ridge Fire Department with a proclamation read by Mayor Sarlo to the assembled Fire Department in the Council Chambers Wednesday evening. Sarlo noted that in addition to the members of the Wood-Ridge Fire Department, there were representatives from Moonachie, Carsltadt, and Wallington in attendance.
"Ron was the fire chief when I first came into elected office," said Mayor Paul Sarlo. "I tell everyone, that Ron tiaught me what I know about the volunteer fire department, and the importance of having a strong relationship with the Volunteer Fire Department."
Sarlo also spoke of the influence of Phillips in the fire community, stating that there has not been a major fire in South Bergen in the past 20 plus years that Phillips did not make his command presence felt. He noted that Phillips spent days helping at the recent Marcal fires in Elmwood Park. He said that in his duties as State Senator, he visited the site, to find Phillips taking command of the control center.
Phillips was born and raised in Wood-Ridge, raised his children in Wood-Ridge as well. He served in Vietnam, and joined the fire department as soon as he returned from the war. He has been a former chief, head of the emergency squad, and serves as the President of the Acting Fire Chiefs of South Bergen.
Current Wood-Ridge Fire Chief Elizabeth Ferry thanked Phillips for being a mentor and a leader, not only in Wood-RIdge, but county-wide and state-wide, noting that he is still taking the younger fire fighters under his wing and showing them the ropes.
"There are times throughout the years," Phillips stated. "when you think to yourself, "Am I doing a good job? Am I making a difference in people's lives" Then you have night's like tonight when you realize that all the work you did, the time you have put in, is really worth it ."
Phillips thanked his family, and his wife of 48 years, noting that she always encouraged him to go "do your job".
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