LIVINGSTON, NJ — Standout members of the Livingston First Aid Squad (LFAS), Livingston Police Department (LPD) and the Livingston Fire Department (LFD) were among those recognized for their service to the community at the Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC) Awards Dinner on Thursday at the Westminster Hotel.
Vincent Kulik and Michael Barnhard were each honored for their many years on Livingston’s fire and first aid squads, which are both volunteer organizations. Lt. John Drumm was the recipient of this year’s LPD award.
According to Livingston Fire Chief Chris Mullen, Kulik was nominated for his dedication and devotion to the township through his 43 years of community service as a volunteer fireman. In addition to his full-time position in law enforcement, Kulik has also held the company officers positions of captain, lieutenant and warden with the LFD as well as serving on several committees.
“Vinny retired from his 30-plus-year career in law enforcement, which included time as a police officer in the Township of Livingston before transferring to the Borough of Essex Fells, in which Vincent rose through the ranks and retired from the position of police chief,” said Mullen. “Vincent’s volunteer length-of-service record as a Livingston volunteer firefighter alone makes him worthy of this recognition.”
Mullen also noted that Kulik is an active member of the Essex County Police & Fire Emerald Society, and is very proud of his Irish heritage. Kulik is a Livingston native and is currently working as a substitute teacher for Livingston Public Schools.
“We have probably the best fire department in the state when you compare them either to volunteer or to paid departments,” said Councilman Rudy Fernandez. “We have a terrific group of volunteers and Livingston is incredibly lucky to have people like Vinny on the fire department keeping us safe day and night, whatever the weather and whatever else may be going on. It’s a terrific group and we have a terrific honoree in Vinny Kulik.”
Pat Ippolito, president of the LFAS, presented this year’s LFAS award to Barnhard, a 20-year LFAS member who took 199 calls over the last year.
“Michael is an excellent EMT, knowledgeable, compassionate and affectionate,” said Ippolito. “He brings care, concern and skill to each call and provides excellent treatment. Mike has been an excellent partner, colleague and friend, and those of us on the squad and in the town are lucky to have such a dedicated and highly qualified EMT."
Barnhard, a longtime Livingston resident, said he has had a passion for medicine and an eagerness to help others for as long as he can remember. Growing up in Livingston, he said he was surrounded by neighbors and family members who were active LFAS members and inspired him to become involved.
He completed his first certification at 16 years old and joined the LFAS two years later in 1998. He served on the first aid squad in Roseland for a period of time in 2008 before returning to Livingston in 2013 with his family.
Throughout his career of volunteerism, Barnhard said his greatest achievement is knowing how many lives he has touched or saved.
“I’m standing up here individually, but it’s a group of truly caring professionals that make the squad so great and help keep it going every day,” said Barnhard. “The squad is also very lucky to have such a great working relationship with the fire department, police department, the council and all the residents that support us and the businesses every year—the donations that they give us keep us going.”
Lt. Drumm has served on the LPD for nearly 29 years, beginning in 1989. He was promoted to sergeant in 2003, and then to lieutenant in 2017. He is also a weapons specialist and range master for the LPD as well as a motorcycle trainer.
Currently, Drumm serves as the commander of the LPD Traffic and Operations Division, coordinator of Livingston's deer management program and coordinator of fleet management. He also oversees the Livingston Animal Control/TNR program and serves on many township committees.
“Basically John handles everything that we throw at him in the police department,” said Acting Police Chief Gary Marschuetz. “Over the last year, we had a big renovation project at our animal control shelter and John oversaw that project like a champion. John cares about the animals and it shows.”
Drumm said that Livingston is “the best township to work for,” and commended the chamber of commerce, the township council, township manager and the many local volunteers who donate so much time to the community.
Other honorees of the 2018 LACC Awards Dinner included Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC) for Business of the Year; Margie Heller, administrative director of community health and outreach at SBMC, for Civic Leader of the Year; and Mahesh Lekkala of Wine Legend for Business Person of the Year. Click HERE to learn more about these honorees.
Greer Gelman was this year’s Livingston Board of Education honoree. Check in with TAPinto Livingston tomorrow to learn more about Gelman’s contributions to the Livingston community.