ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury’s longest-serving firefighter, Lou Bizzari of Ledgewood, was bestowed today with the township’s highest honor: A special sign on the road where he lives with his wife, Rose.
The ceremony for Bizzari, 91, came on the 70th anniversary of his joining the Roxbury Fire Department as a 21-year-old from Port Morris. “I can’t believe this,” he said, standing in front of the Mt. Arlington Road house he had built in 1957. “This is really an honor. I didn’t expect this.”
The proposal to put up a street blade for Bizzari was made last year by Roxbury Councilwoman Jaki Albrecht The council endorsed the plan.
Dozens of officials, firefighters and family members attended the event.
The street blade is similar to one put up in 2015 on Mapledale Avenue in Succasunna to honor firefighter Sam Wilson.
Bizzari, - a Korean War combat veteran (and bronze star recipient) and former Ledgewood Post Office postmaster - has held many high-ranking positions in the fire department, including chief. In the 1960s he served as Roxbury Fire Company 2’s assistant engineer, engineer, lieutenant and captain.
Bizarri was assistant chief of the full fire department in 1970, 1971 and 1972 and he became chief of the department in 1973.
He also served as a fire marshal for Roxbury for 25 years. In 2008, he was named Fireman of the Year by the New Jersey State Exempt Firemans’ Association. He has served as president, vice-president and treasurer of Roxbury Company 2 for more than 20 years.
He is s a lifetime member of the Roxbury Township Relief and Exempt Association and, for 35 years, he’s been a member of the Roxbury Fire Department Memorial Committee.
At the event, Bizzari was also presented with a plaque from the Morris County freeholders and a proclamation from the state Legislature.
Roxbury Mayor Robert DiFillippo said Bizzari's accomplishments and service to the township "have been and will be forever remembered by the people he served and by the people who served with him throughout his extraordinary life."
He said Bizzari is a man who doesn't measure success by his accumulations "but by how many people he has helped."
There was also some laughter on hand as those who love Bizzari took playful jabs. For example, when Bizzari got behind the wheel of the township's beloved first fire truck, a restored 1917 Ford Model A, Bizzari found it necessary to deny being present the day the truck was delivered.
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