SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- John Lestarchick was joined by his wife and two children as he was sworn in as Scotch Plains Fire Chief on Sunday evening at Scotch Hills Golf Course before the Independence Day fireworks display.
For the last 32 years, he has been a member of the Scotch Plains Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter. Lestarchick had been promoted to deputy chief two years ago and he had been serving as a Union County fire coordinator responding to multiple-alarm fires since 2014.
"It's a little overwhelming, but I'm anxious to get into the groove and put my spin on things,” said Lestarchick, who is a second generation Scotch Plains fireman. “I’m just looking forward to getting to work and excited to get going.”
He had great praise for his fellow comrades as he assumes an administrative position to support their efforts.
"The volunteers are the ones leaving their families (to serve the Township),” added Lestarchick. “It's my duty to keep them safe and engaged. I’m looking forward to embracing my connection with the membership and being in a position to assist them in the direction they want to go.
Lestarchick was sworn in by Mayor Al Smith. He succeeds Jonathan Ellis, who served as chief for the Township for the last three decades.
“We will miss Chief John Ellis, who has retired after 30 years of service, but we are so proud that Chief John Lestarchick will replace him,” said Mayor Smith. “John is a dedicated, qualified, and outstanding fireman. Scotch Plains is in good hands with Chief Lestarchick, and it was truly my honor to swear him in during our Independence Day celebration.”