LIVINGSTON, NJ — Retired Essex Fells Police Chief Vincent Kulik, also a 43-year member of Livingston's volunteer fire department, was among those recognized for their service to the community at the Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC) 2018 Awards Dinner at the Westminster Hotel.
According to Livingston Fire Chief Chris Mullen, Kulik was nominated for his dedication and devotion to the township through his 43 years of community service as a volunteer fireman. In addition to his full-time position in law enforcement, Kulik has also held the company officers positions of captain, lieutenant and warden with the Livingston Fire Department as well as serving on several committees.
“Vinny retired from his 30-plus-year career in law enforcement, which included time as a police officer in the Township of Livingston before transferring to the Borough of Essex Fells, in which Vincent rose through the ranks and retired from the position of police chief,” said Mullen. “Vincent’s volunteer length-of-service record as a Livingston volunteer firefighter alone makes him worthy of this recognition.”
Mullen also noted that Kulik is an active member of the Essex County Police & Fire Emerald Society, and is very proud of his Irish heritage. Kulik is a Livingston native and is currently working as a substitute teacher for Livingston Public Schools.
“We have probably the best fire department in the state when you compare them either to volunteer or to paid departments,” said Councilman Rudy Fernandez. “We have a terrific group of volunteers and Livingston is incredibly lucky to have people like Vinny on the fire department keeping us safe day and night, whatever the weather and whatever else may be going on. It’s a terrific group and we have a terrific honoree in Vinny Kulik.”
Kulik was recruited by the Essex Fells Police Department as a patrolman in 1988 and was promoted to Chief of Police in October 2009. He retired from the department on on Feb. 1, 2017. Read more about his service to Essex Fells HERE.
Also among those recognized was Michael Barnhard, a former member of the Borough of Roseland's volunteer first aid squad.
Pat Ippolito, president of the Livingston First Aid Squad (LFAS), presented this year’s LFAS award to Barnhard, a 20-year LFAS member who took 199 calls over the last year.
“Michael is an excellent EMT, knowledgeable, compassionate and affectionate,” said Ippolito. “He brings care, concern and skill to each call and provides excellent treatment. Mike has been an excellent partner, colleague and friend, and those of us on the squad and in the town are lucky to have such a dedicated and highly qualified EMT."
Barnhard, a longtime Livingston resident, said he has had a passion for medicine and eagerness to help others for as long as he can remember. Growing up in Livingston, he said he was surrounded by neighbors and family members who were also active LFAS members and inspired him to become involved.
He completed his first certification at 16 years old and joined the LFAS two years later in 1998. He served on the first aid squad in Roseland for a period of time in 2008 before returning to Livingston in 2013 with his family.
Throughout his career of volunteerism, Barnhard said his greatest achievement is knowing how many lives he has touched or saved.
“I’m standing up here individually, but it’s a group of truly caring professionals that make the squad so great and help keep it going every day,” said Barnhard. “The squad is also very lucky to have such a great working relationship with the fire department, police department, the council and all the residents that support us and the businesses every year—the donations that they give us keep us going."
Other honorees of the 2018 LACC Awards Dinner included Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC) for Business of the Year; Margie Heller, administrative director of community health and outreach at SBMC, for Civic Leader of the Year; and Mahesh Lekkala of Wine Legend for Business Person of the Year. Click HERE to learn more about these honorees.