MILLBURN, NJ –  Millburn Police Detective Lieutenant David Bonney, Millburn Fire Captain Christopher Beady, Firefighter Edgar Echavarria and Battalion Chief James Boyle are four of the honorees at the 51st annual Valor Awards. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and the 200 Club of Essex County will present the awards on May 4.   

These sons of Millburn share a commitment to the safety and well-being of Millburn/Short Hills residents and are receiving recognition for their selfless acts of courage and devotion. Their heroic actions exemplify their willingness to go above and beyond to serve those in need.

According to the 200 Club of Essex County press release, “On the morning of July 4, 2016, an 8-year-old special needs child who suffers from autism ran away from a family gathering at Congregation B'nai Israel and fell into the west branch of the Rahway River. Disregarding his own personal safety, Bonney waded into the river where the boy was last seen and followed its current. Moving quickly, Bonney found the distressed boy choking and spitting out water about 200 feet from where he had entered the river. Bonney lifted the boy in his arms and carried him back to an awaiting ambulance. This officer’s courage, skill and professionalism undoubtedly saved the life of this child.”

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The 200 Club press release details the heroic actions of Beady and Echavarria who worked in together on a harrowing save. “On Tuesday, May 4, 2016, at 7:11 PM the Millburn Fire Department was dispatched to a report of a high angle rescue at a residence on Whitney Road. Upon arrival, an eight-year-old boy was seen sitting on the roof. An older sibling acknowledged that her brother had functional challenges. It was difficult for Millburn’s Tower Ladder to position itself. Seeing this, Capt. Beady removed a ground ladder from the engine and placed it against the house. Beady tried to coax the child over to him, but the boy kept his distance."  

"At the same time F/F Echavarria came up from an additional ladder.  Several times the boy began sliding down, only to be stopped by a skylight on the roof. Disregarding his own personal safety, Capt. Beady left the safety of the ridge and was able to reach out to grab the boy.  At this time F/F Echavarria approached on the other side.  A third roof ladder was placed on the roof. Both Beady and Echavarria began their climb down the roof with the boy. Although this was a team effort for the entire crew, if not for the heroic efforts of Captain Beady and Firefighter Echavarria, without regard to their own personal safety, this situation could have had a devastating conclusion.”

Millburn Battalion Chief Boyle answered the call with a number of other area teams to make a save in a complex environment. The press release from the 200 Club outlines the trying circumstances Boyle and other faced. “The initial alarm on December 3, 2016, was received via the Essex County Fire Radio, and subsequently was dispatched to the Montclair Fire Department for reports of a man trapped underneath an oil tank.  While the Montclair Fire Department is trained and equipped for both confined space and trench rescue operations, this incident presented unique challenges. The firefighters carried out their initial assigned tasks of patient assessment, stabilization of the soil pile, air monitoring inside the tank and getting the rescue equipment staged. Millburn Battalion Chief James Boyle was called as he has extensive training in various rescue disciplines and he was assigned as a technical advisor to the Operations Officer."

"Due to the nature of the confined space entrapment within the trench, traditional trench rescue techniques could not utilized.  Further complicating the situation, the victim lost consciousness due to the weight of the tank and trench wall on his chest. Using various techniques, the victim was finally removed after being buried for 1 ½ hours and transferred to University Hospital.  Also assisting in the rescue were the Cedar Grove and North Caldwell Fire Departments, Montclair Police & Millburn Fire."

"This rescue was truly a group effort which could not have been accomplished without the skill, expertise, and professionalism of all the Montclair Officers and Firefighters, as well as Deputy Essex County Fire Coordinator and Millburn Battalion Chief James Boyle.”

Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, a member of The 200 Club’s board of trustees, stated “The job of a police officer or firefighter is tougher today than ever before,” he continued “Law enforcement and firefighting are extremely hazardous professions which are performed at tremendous personal risk.  The work of The 200 Club of Essex County is greatly appreciated by the entire public safety community and their families.”

Established in 1966, The 200 Club of Essex County has raised nearly $2 million to support the spouses of fallen officers and to fund scholarships for their children through membership dues and the annual luncheon.