Ardmore, Lower Merion Township, PA — The Ardmore Rotary Club honored Tom Hayden, Jr. last evening at a networking event and tribute held at World Wide Stereo on Greenfield Avenue. Local politicians were on hand delivering a citation from the Pennsylvania Statehouse and an award from Lower Merion Township.
Dignatartaries included Mary Jo Daley, Pennsylvania State Representative who delivered and read a citation from the Statehouse honoring Chief Tom Hayden for his devotion to the citizens of Lower Merion.
Ernie McNeely, Lower Merion’s Township Manager provided a plaque as a tribute to Chief Hayden's courage and devotion to the citizens of Lower Merion.
Township Commissioners V. Scott Zelov and Anna Durbin were on hand to honor Chief Hayden.
Ardmore Rotary President Rod Rhen, Chief Tom Hayden and Mike Silver, Esq.
Mike Silver, Esq. was The Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Silver is another long-serving Rotary Club member, Past President, and friend of Hayden’s.
Mike & Cindy Silvers, Local Attorneys in Ardmore, PA
Silver spoke in glowing terms about Hayden and his devotion to the community and people in general. He told tales about Chief Hayden picking up and leaving his home and family to help people in West Virginia and other locales when disasters struck. He spoke about Hayden running into burning buildings when most people were running out of the burning buildings.
Hayden isn’t only a long time serving FireFighter, he has responded to more emergencies and calls for help than any other member in the history of the Merion Fire Company of Ardmore.
Hayden started as a volunteer firefighter when he was sixteen years old. His father was a prominent member of the fire company and was also a Deputy Fire Marshal for Lower Merion Township. Hayden son Tom is also an officer with the fire company. The Hayden’s are a brand name in Lower Merion and the Fire service.
Chief Hayden With State Representative Mary Jo Daley
Tom Hayden estimates he has responded to over 14,000 calls as a volunteer fireman. In 2012, Tom, first at the scene of a house fire, rescued two women and was hospitalized with resultant injuries from the effort. His heroism was noted at the 2014 Red Cross Heroism Breakfast at Plymouth Meeting Golf Club, April 2014. Later that month, Tom received the Medal of Valor from Lower Merion Township at a special event in the Lower Merion Township Building. Among those on hand were the two women he rescued and their families. One of the women pinned the medal on Tom’s uniform.
V. Scott Zelov Lower Merion Township speaks at the event
Hayden, when he isn’t directing firefighting operations runs a highly successful business—Hayden Printing with its main office on Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore and a printing plant also located in the township. It is one of the few businesses in town where employees are encouraged to leave work, while being paid, to fight fires.
Throughout the evening, videos were displayed showing Ardmore Rotary Club projects and work of volunteer firefighters. Attendees experienced Virtual Reality presentation of a day of polio immunization in the Nigerian bush from last August, as Rotarians from around the world gave the oral vaccine to children.
Since 1988, Rotary Clubs worldwide have raised funds to deliver the polio vaccine around the world. Cases of polio have dropped from 350,000 when the program began to less than 25 in the past year with reports of new cases only in Afghanistan and Nigeria and Syria.
Township Manager Ernie McNeely delivers Lower Merion Townships award to Chief Hayden
A networking event preceded the awards, and almost 100 people were in attendance. Proceeds from the event are being split between the Rotary International Polio Eradication Fund and the Merion Fire Company of Ardmore Fire Fighters Fund.
Tom also has been in the forefront of several Rotary Club drives to help survivors of major disasters including those in Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Staten Island, N.Y. and the Merion Fire Company co-hosts the annual Ardmore Rotary Pancake Breakfast during Fire Prevention Week in October. The breakfast has raised over $125,000 for the Firefighters’ Fund since the mid-1980s.
World Wide Stereo hosted the evening while providing snacks and beverages to the attendees