SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Trustees appointed John Shoemaker as the village’s new fire chief at their meeting Monday night.
Peter Coughlin will serve as deputy fire chief, and John Denvir was promoted to captain. Fire Chief Jeff Markey is retiring effective Dec. 1. He served as a firefighter for 38 years, the last 15 as chief.
Markey said farewell to his fellow firefighters and to the trustees at his last public meeting as chief and congratulated the three men on their new positions.
“The firefighters in the South Orange Fire Department are the best of the best,” Markey said. He praised their dedication and sacrifice, saying, “They are an inspiration to me.”
He said he had learned a lot from the firefighters. “It has been an honor to lead them over the past 15 years,” he said. “I leave them with one phrase, and that’s ‘be safe’.”
Next, he addressed Shoemaker, Coughlin and Denvir, noting that they have worked hard and will be leading a “great group” of firefighters. “I am confident that you will be wise with your decisions,” he said. “I wish you well.”
Village Administrator Barry Lewis Jr. said to Markey, “I thank you on behalf of the village for everything you did for the village.”
Trustee Deborah Davis Ford said, “We’re going to miss you, but we’re also very appreciative of the team you built and leave behind.”
Markey received a standing ovation at the conclusion of his remarks, as did Shoemaker, Coughlin and Denver after they were sworn in.