Giving Back

Heroic Actions, Longtime Volunteerism Recognized at South Plainfield Borough Council Meeting

721b541f6cc05248c588_IMG_0254.jpg
Deputy Chief Charles Siedenburg and firefighter Robert Harding were honored for 50 years of volunteerism to the South Plainfield Fire Department. Credits: Victoria Caruso
bf6ebd3591e26852a446_IMG_0244.jpg
Usama ‘Sam’ Ghanem, Jr. and his mother accept the Life Saving Award presented to him and his sister Crystal at the Sept. 26 South Plainfield Borough Council meeting. Credits: Victoria Caruso
f67a9ce1eaaab76473f2_IMG_0247.jpg
Fire Lt. Andrew Kolenski and Police Lieutenant David DeLair received Life Saving Awards from the South Plainfield Borough Council for rescuing an unconscious male from Spring Lake back in May. Credits: Victoria Caruso
4b1b3a071881872be619_IMG_0250.jpg
Firefighters Joe Abbruzzesse & Mike Pellegrino, Police Officers Brian Zielinski & Mark Hollain, and NJS Correction Officer Bryan Bostick with the council. Credits: Victoria Caruso
721b541f6cc05248c588_IMG_0254.jpg

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Heroic actions, along with longtime volunteerism, were recognized earlier this week by the South Plainfield Borough Council and Fire Chief Thomas Scalera.

At a Sept. 26 meeting, friends and family gathered in borough hall as fellow residents, police officers, and fire department volunteers were presented with Life Saving Awards in recognition of their heroic rescue efforts this year. During the meeting, Charles Siedenburg and Robert Harding were also honored for 50 years of volunteerism to the South Plainfield Fire Department.

Life Saving Awards

Sign Up for E-News

Harrison Avenue resident Usama ‘Sam’ Ghanem, Jr. and his sister Crystal were honored with Life Saving Awards for their heroic efforts in rescuing neighbor Linda Rudy from a house fire on Feb. 28. 

Just after 11 p.m., Crystal heard an explosion and noticed a fire at her neighbor’s home. She called 9-1-1 while her brother ran across the street and kicked in the front door. Although heavy smoke pushed Sam back, he did not give up and proceeded to the left side of the home. Through a window, Sam found Rudy lying face down near her basement steps. Risking his own life, Sam forced the side door open and pulled Rudy out of her burning home. Fire, police and EMS on scene then transported Rudy to the hospital. 

South Plainfield Fire Lt. Andrew Kolenski and South Plainfield Police Lieutenant David DeLair were also both presented Life Saving Awards for their efforts in rescuing an unconscious male from Spring Lake.

On May 19, Lt. Kolenski answered a knock on the fire department door and was informed by a female passerby that a man had fallen off the culvert and into the mouth of Spring Lake near Plainfield Avenue. After radioing for assistance, Lt. Kolenski ran from the firehouse and saw a man floating face up in the water. The man was not responsive or breathing and Lt. Kolenski, along with Lt. DeLair, worked to pull him ashore where members of the South Plainfield Police and Fire departments began administering basic life support.

South Plainfield Firefighters Joe Abbruzzesse and Mike Pellegrino and South Plainfield Police Officers Brian Zielinski and Mark Hollain, along with Plainfield Fire Lt. John Reed and New Jersey State Correction Officer Bryan Bostick also received Life Saving Awards for their heroic efforts in saving Donna Verdutis from a Florence Place house fire. 

On May 26, nearby residents Reed, a former captain of the South Plainfield Fire Department, and Bostick, a former New Market firefighter, both arrived on the scene to find occupants trapped within the burning structure. Together with Firefighters Pellegrino and Abbruzzesse and Officers Zielinski and Hollain, the men worked to pull Verdutis out of a downstairs window just as the upstairs window blew out and the fire flashed over them; unfortunately, Verdutis’ 83-year-old father Robert passed away in the blaze.

“For the firefighters and police, it has often been said you guys are running into danger when everyone else would like to run the other way and, 99 percent of the time, that is the case. We expect that of you guys, yet we still are amazed what the members of the fire department and police department are able to do,” said Mayor Matt Anesh. “For the residents who stepped up to help when others were in need, regardless of what your background is, is truly amazing and something to be proud of.”

Councilman Derryck White added, “Seeing how our citizens and first responders have aligned with the same mindset of reaching out and serving others really speaks to what our community is about and what makes us so different from other communities. We really look out for each other.”

50 Years of Volunteerism

Friends, family and fellow firefighters also gathered Monday evening to honor to longstanding members of the volunteer fire company. Both Charles Siedenburg and Robert Harding entered the South Plainfield Fire Department in 1966 and are currently celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.

According to Scalera, who has known both men since he was just three years old, when Siedenburg and Harding joined the department, things were much different. Back then, said the chief, there were no air masks, dual lines were used for working fires, and there were open cabs on engines. “A lot has changed since then,” said Scalera.

Siedenburg began his career in fire service in Roselle and relocated to South Plainfield shortly after. Over the years, he rose through the ranks and became Deputy Chief, serving during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Siedenburg was the recipient of the Chief Hamilton Medal for firefighter of the year in 2008 and he was also appointed the company’s Sergeant-of-Arms, a rank he still holds today.

Harding was the recipient of the Chief Hamilton Medal for firefighter of the year in 1999 and, two years later, was honored for his heroic rescue of a victim from a sprinkler pit.  Today, he remains a very active participant in numerous state affairs pertaining to volunteer firefighters.

In addition to awards, both Deputy Chief Siedenburg and Firefighter Harding also received 50-year service badges for their uniforms from Gary Stephenson, president of the department’s executive board.

“The Borough of South Plainfield would like to congratulate the both of you and wish you nothing but the best as you continue to service our community,” Scalera said in honoring the two longtime firefighters. “Thank you for you service.”

Anesh added, “Fifty years of service is definitely an achievement and, on behalf of the entire governing body, the Borough of South Plainfield, and the surrounding communities, congratulations and thank you …” 

TAPinto South Plainfield is South Plainfield’s only free daily paper. Sign up to get all the news as it happens at www.TAPinto.net/enews and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SouthPlainfieldTAP/ and on Twitter at @SoplainfieldTAP.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Plainfield

The Athlete of the Week Joe Sacco Wrestling

The South Plainfield Wrestling Team finished their dual meet season with a deceiving 20-7 record.  This past week saw the Tigers defeat Ewing (69-4), Bordentown Regional (49-9), and Ocean Township (54-6) to win the Central Jersey Group III Sectional Championship.  This advanced South Plainfield to the Group III State Championships yet again.  The wrestling team defeated Voorhees ...

The Athlete of the Week: Alyzah Ziga Co-ed Swimming

This past week South Plainfield’s Co-ed Swim Team finished their season.  The team was competitive in most meets, many times competing against bigger schools.  Junior Alyzah Ziga was an integral part of the Tiger’s Swim Team.

On Friday 2/2, Alyzah scored a total of 8 points against Linden with a 1st place in the 200 Individual Medley with a time of 2:29.55 and in 1st ...

Obituaries

South Plainfield - Mary E. Ridilla, 96,  passed away on Thursday, February 15, 2018 at the ...
Read more

Letters to the Editor

South Plainfield Middle School Student Council Thanks Supporters

February 21, 2018

The South Plainfield Middle School Student Council would like to express our thanks for the support of local businesses and organizations in our fundraising efforts.  A spaghetti dinner was hosted by the South Plainfield Elks Lodge #2298 on January 13th.  Mrs. Sharon Reuter and members of her Youth Committee and kitchen crew provided dinner for family, friends and staff of South ...

South Plainfield Residents  Named to Fall 2017 Dean's List at Seton Hall University

February 13, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ -- Seton Hall University is pleased to announce the following students who qualified for Fall 2017 Dean's list and to congratulate them for their outstanding academic achievements:

Brooke Barry, Lindsay Celentano, Cj Dudek, Kaitlyn Faustini, Christopher McNeil,  Meagan Praul,  

Kyle Russell, Matthew Taco Bravo and Tomasz ...

Community Happenings

Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

February 7, 2018

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Friday, February 9, 2016 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per person includes:  ...

Volleyball Fundraiser for the Eggert Family on March 11, 2018

February 18, 2018

WHAT:

Two divisions, Co-Ed High School and Co-Ed adult

Guaranteed two games per team

Double Elimination

8 people per team

 

COST:

High School teams = $50 per team

Adult Teams = $100 per team

12 Teams Max for each division

Please mail checks to 1107 Worth Drive, South Plainfield NJ 07080

High school - please submit your teams and payment to Justin ...

Holy Savior Academy hosts appreciation luncheon for Deanery Pastors

February 16, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The students and Board of Limited Jurisdiction of Holy Savior Academy (HSA), South Plainfield hosted a special luncheon to honor and celebrate the Pastors of twelve local Catholic churches that sponsor the school.  

The event was held at HSA on Tuesday February 13 and included a festive lunch featuring a home-cooked meal prepared by members of ...

Holy Savior Academy Cheer Competition

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Holy Savior Academy’s cheerleading squad is on winning streak.  Competing at the Biddy Level in the CCCANJ League, the girls took 1st place in the first two competitions of this cheer season. The 12 girl squad competed in the Immaculate Conception and the St. Mary’s competitions and came out on top beating fellow Catholic Schools, Immaculate ...

Bios, Photos of Past Labor Day Grand Marshals Needed for Eagle Scout Project

February 21, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Joseph Kelly, a senior at South Plainfield High School and member of Boy Scout Troop 207, is seeking the community’s help to see his Eagle Scout project come to fruition.

Kelly is looking to compile a ‘wall of fame’ honoring the men and women who have served as honorary grand marshals of the borough’s Labor Day Parade since 1961. The ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_2016772e51de2589b65e_lenten_dinners

Fri, February 23, 5:00 PM

South Plainfield

The Sacred Heart Lenten Fish Dinners

Carousel_image_160974dbc9379a0238f6_meet_the_mayor

Sat, February 24, 8:00 AM

South Plainfield

Meet the Mayor at the Senior Center

Carousel_image_01278d9d6764037b0a59_children_s_march_flyer-page-001

Sat, February 24, 2:00 PM

South Plainfield

The Children’s March being shown at the South ...

Sat, February 24, 4:00 PM

American Legion, South Plainfield

Boy Scout Troop 207 Spaghetti Dinner

Food & Drink

Carousel_image_4d7f13f1bac1e8a84adb_races_flyer_4-page-001

Sat, February 24, 7:00 PM

South Plainfield

Night at the Races - Tricky Tray

Carousel_image_5a8b641c938a30a61d34_img_2324

Sun, February 25, 1:00 PM

South Plainfield

Open House 171 New York Avenue South Plainfield

Real Estate

Columns

Diegnan Bill Allowing Municipalities To Authorize Parking Authorities As Redevelopment Entity Now Law

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick Diegnan to allow municipalities to authorize a parking authority as a redevelopment entity is now law.

“We know that smart redevelopment can help to revitalize areas within a town or city, but we have to make sure that municipalities have the flexibility to undertake projects in the most effective way,” said ...

South Plainfield: A Heart for Giving

South Plainfield received over two inches of rain this past weekend. Fortunately, Mother Nature has cooperated, and the precipitation was not of the frozen variety. Despite the rain, nothing could put a damper on South Plainfield’s spirit of helping those in need.

On Saturday a few Borough employees and I had the opportunity to deliver funds that have been raised for a family that has ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Bookmarks

What, February is nearly over already?  No doubt you were just getting used to it.  So, before March arrives like the proverbial lion, let’s look at upcoming events at South Plainfield Library:

            With a couple of additions and one cancellation, we’ve got a usual slate of children’s programs next ...

Press Releases

John Kormendy - First Exalted Ruler Honored

February 21, 2018

Recently the South Plainfield Elks Lodge #2298 gathered together to celebrate and honor John Kormendy.

After more than 60 years in the area, he has decided to relocate to Michigan to be closer to his daughter.

Mr. Kormendy was one of the founding members and our first Exalted Ruler.  For the past  55 years the

Lodge has been in South Plainfield, he has been very active in many ...