UNION, NJ – Union firefighters, township officials, friends and family were on hand Friday night for the Township of Union Fire Department’s 2016/2017 Awards/Retirement Ceremony at Galloping Hill Caterers.  Of special significance at this years’ event was the retirement celebration of Fire Chief Thomas Byrne and Battalion Chief James Marzarella

“This is a special night for us as we retire two great gentlemen,” said NJFMBA President Ed Donnelly.  “Chief, we will be forever indebted to you for leading us these past years.”   Of Marzaella, Donnelly said, “I’ve worked 16-years side-by-side with Marzarella.  As a friend, as a leader, there’s no one better.”

“These two fireman were born and raised in Union,” said Township Mayor Suzette Cavadas, “and they decided to give back to their community.”  Cavadas said Chief Bryne “always has a smile on his face”.  Speaking of Marzarella, Cavadas said, “Jim always took time to mentor young firefighters.”

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“These two men, with over 36-years and over 26-years of service, represent bravery at its finest,” said Township Committeewoman and Fire Commissioner Michele Delisfort.  “To anyone willing to put their lives on the line every single day, I applaud you.”

“I take the memories of these past 36 years home with me tonight,” said Chief Bryne.  “From my heart to you, thank you.  I am eternally grateful.”

“These are the guys I worked with for over 26 years,” said Marzarella.  “It’s been a pleasure and a privilege.”

A resolution was presented to Chief Byrne and Battalion Chief Marzarella by Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan.  Deputy Mayor Joseph Florio and Township Committee members Manuel Figueiredo and Clifton People, Jr. also spoke of the dedication and commitment of Byrne and Marzarella.  Firefighter Steven Spurr said, “Chief Byrne, your legacy will be with the Union Fire Department long after you’re gone.”

Awards celebrated during the evening included:

Meritorious Service Medal – Awarded to Captain Henry Sisbarro and Firefighter Gunther Guerra for exhibiting personal courage in an effort to rescue another under hazardous conditions.

D/C Leslie Hendricks EMS Medal of Distinction – Awarded to Captain David Zeh, Lieutenant Donald Vitale, and Firefighters Matthew, Zieser, Michael Davitt, and Michael Amato for their critical judgment and actions in preserving the life of a patient.

Commendation Medal – Awarded to Firefighter Patrick Machado for his actions exceeding normal job expectation in order to complete a mission against unconventional odds.

Civilian Award – Awarded to Jean Machado for his actions and assistance to a member of the Department in carrying out his duties to save a life.

Saint Barnabas Burn Center Valor Award Special Recognition – Awarded to members of Tour 3 and Support Staff for team effort.

NJFMBA Valor Awards Local of the Year – Presented to the members of FMBA Locals 46 and 246 for their enduring benevolence and resolution in carrying out the mission of their Locals and the State FMBA.

Other Honors and Awards:

Letter of Commendation - Firefighter Brian Rocklein and Firefighter Louis Skierski

Overlook Hospital EMS Excellence Award – Captain Steve Spurr

Veterans of Foreign War Loyalty Day Award – Battalion Chief Michael Scanio

Knights of Columbus Firefighters of the Year – Battalion Chief Michael Scanio

Islamic Center of Union Firefighter of the Year – Firefighter Vincent Amato