MONTCLAIR, NJ – John Herrmann was sworn in as Montclair Fire Chief during a ceremony on Monday evening. There was standing room only as supporters, family and friends packed into Montclair Council Chambers.
A 1979 graduate of Montclair's Immaculate Conception High School, Herrmann has served the Montclair Fire Department for 33 years. He most recently held the position of Deputy Chief since 2004 and has been the township’s Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator since 2013. He has received numerous commendations, including a bronze Medal of Honor from the New Jersey FMBA and was honored with a Valor Award and named 2008 Fireman of the Year by the Essex County Emerald Society.
Herrmann replaces former Chief Kevin Allen, who retired earlier this year.
Mayor Jackson opened the ceremony saying, “I know John to be a true professional and a true gentleman. It has always been a pleasure to work with John.”
The color guard and the Essex County Emerald Society Police and Fire Pipes and Drum Corp led Herrmann in as they played. In his spare time, Herrmann is a member and plays the drums for them.
Township Clerk Linda Wanat approached the podium to issue the Oath of Office. With his wife, children and granddaughter by his side, she swore Herrmann in.
Herrmann approached the podium, thanked Mayor Jackson and the council as well as many others. In his speech he said, “It is certainly an honor and a privilege to become the Chief of the Montclair Fire Department.” Also in attendance was Montclair Police Chief David Sabagh.
Herrmann thanked the Montclair firefighters. “I’ve found out real quick that you’re nothing without your crew. You depend on them and you need them. I’ve been fortunate over the last 33 years to have some really great crews and I appreciate everything that you’ve done….I look forward to working for you and with you.”
Along with Herrmann’s family, his mom sat in the audience. She proudly sat in the front row and said to strangers, “That’s my son.” As Herrmann began to discuss his dad during his speech, he got a little choked up and explained “…he could not be here today. …He taught me a lot about working hard and being honest…I hope I did you proud, dad.”
His remarks were met with a standing ovation from the audience.
Among those celebrating with Herrmann, several friends and coworkers were in attendance to show their support.
Kirstan Anschuetz, Township of Montclair employee and lifelong Montclair resident came to support Herrmann. She said, "He's one of the good guys here and I wanted to come support him. He's one of the nicest guys. Very personable."
David Hollywood of Nutley, Pipe Sergeant for the Essex County Emerald Society was among those playing for Hermann. He said, "Chief Herrmann is a great person. Couldn't have happened to a better guy."