SPRINGFIELD, NJ - In a ceremony held this past Sunday, the Springfield First Aid Squad (FAS) dedicated their crew room to long-time FAS member Daniel Kalem.
During his lifetime, Kalem served as the squad's president and captain. In order to help honor his memory, Kalem's family contributed towards the creation of a crew room and the construction of a basement.
Among the ateendees at the ceremony were members of the Springfield township committee, FAS and Kalem's three daughters, Allyson Aborn, Toni Kalem and Rachel Funcheon. All three daughters were accompanied by their families.
During his 57 years on the squad, Kalem was an instrumental part of the organization. His work touched the lives of many current and former members. One of those members in particular was FAS President Elizabeth Fritzen. Fritzen, who knew Kalem for decades, spoke fondly of him in her remarks.
Her assosciation with Kalem began through her mother and father, who worked with the FAS for 56 and 35 years respectively. Fritzen herself was intorduced to Kalem at five years old when her parents joined. In her remarks, Fritzen, who splits her time between the squad and her duties as Township Clerk in Maplewood noted that Kalem was a vital part of the FAS for many years.
In her speech at the ceremony on Sunday, Fritzen said that from the time she met him at age five up until she joined the squad in high school, he was always Mr. Kalem to her. Even though he wanted to be called Danny, she always referred to him formally. It took several years, but eventually she did.
She and other spoke highly of Kalem and the many roles he played for the FAS, including helping to fundraise, and working to bring the FAS to a sucessful place. He joined at a time when much of the current life-saving technology used by today's FAS had not yet been invented, but still found ways to save plenty of lives.
For Fritzen, the room being dedicated to Kalem was the capstone to a process that helped to improve the FAS. And she could think of no better way to honor his memory than with this dedication.
"Now we have a wonderful crew room named for Danny," Fritzen said. "Built mostly by our own members and their many talents. A cinderblock basement never used has been transformed into a much-needed crew room, study room and storage."
She added, "Danny was involved in countless life-saving efforts over so many years, providing tender, loving care to absolute strangers and making a difference in so many people's lives. This is a life well lived."