LIVINGSTON, NJ — Outstanding first responders from the Livingston Police Department (LPD), Livingston Fire Department (LFD) and Livingston First Aid Squad (LFAS) were among those honored at last week’s Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce awards dinner held at Crystal Plaza.
The award for Police Officer of the Year was presented to Lt. Reese Riley, a 25-year member of the LPD and a third-generation law enforcement officer.
“[Riley] said that his grandfather and father had great careers in their respective jobs, but that he wanted to find a town to be a part of and find a name for himself—and that is what he has done here in Livingston,” said Chief Gary Marshuetz as he introduced Lt. Riley.
After joining the Livingston force in 1994, Riley was assigned to patrol and has also served as a bicycle officer, a field-training officer and a member of the Essex/Union Auto Theft Task Force. He worked the night shift as a road supervisor after being promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2003 and was placed in charge of the Alcohol Beverage Control laws around the same time.
In 2017, Riley became liaison to Livingston’s auxiliary police department, supervising the more than 20 officers who volunteer to assist the sworn officers, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant shortly thereafter. At that point, he became the shift commander in charge of one of the two nights shifts, supervising 10 officers and two sergeants.
In 2018, Riley was reassigned to administration and became the operations division supervisor, where his assignments include the direct supervision of specialties divisions and services such as traffic, animal control, crossing guards and grant writing.
Marshuetz noted that Riley has always been able to maintain a high level of morale on his squad and that he is “rapidly becoming a fixture at all of our community events,” such as recent events like the Memorial Day service and Youth Appreciation Week celebration.
“In my opinion, [Riley’s] life has come full circle recently when we had the honor of having his father proudly attend events here in Livingston [and] it is a privilege to serve with Reese as he continues to go above and beyond,” said Marshuetz.
Livingston Fire Chief Chris Mullin introduced Norman Mitschele, Jr. as this year's LFD award recipient, stating that he nominated Mitschele for his dedication and devotion to the Township of Livingston through his volunteer service over the last 38 years since 1981.
Mitschele has made many positive contributions to the fire department, holding the Company Officers positions of warden, lieutenant, captain and interim deputy fire chief as well as serving on many committees during his service. He served as president from 1994 to 2004 and currently serves as treasurer to the fire department.
“Over the years, there have been numerous calls of fires, motor vehicle accidents, entrapments, construction accidents and all-in-all, the fire calls are the fire calls…but all-in-all, it’s the people that I was with that made the last 38 years what it is,” said Mitschele. “It’s the people that are a part of the organization that have made it what it is, and it’s been an honor and a privilege for the last 38 years to serve with those people.”
According to the chief, Mitschele’s “volunteer length of service record as a volunteer firefighter alone makes him worthy of the recognition.”
“Norman continues to be a positive contributor to our organization and we look forward to many more years of active service with Norman,” said Mullin, who also acknowledged Mitschele’s family members for their support.
The 2019 LFAS award was presented to Craig Melhorn, who is currently in his 27th year of active service to the LFAS and has also been a volunteer member of the LFD since 1998.
While introducing this year’s honoree, LFAS President Pat Ippolito said that Melhon is a “trustworthy, reliable and knowledgeable partner.
“I’m always pleased to ride with him and I know I can count on his skills and abilities and know that the community can count on his skilled assistance,” said Ippolito.
Melhorn joined the Livingston First Aid Squad in September 1992 and assumed his first officer’s position as lieutenant in 1996. He served as captain in 1997, 1998 and 2000 and also served as president for a total of nine years, holding the position from 2004 to 2006 and again from 2012 to 2017.
While accepting his award, Melhorn congratulated all of this year’s honorees but especially acknowledged his two fellow first responders for their service. He also recognized various individuals who have served as mentors and have been instrumental to his time on the squad, including a few that Melhorn has presented this same award to in the past when he served as LFAS president.
TAPinto LIvingston will continue to highlight Livingston Chamber Awards recipients over the next few days.
Click on the headlines below to read about more of this year’s award recipients: