Valiant efforts during structure fires lauded

HOWELL, NJ – In a solemn memorial service at the Monmouth County Fire Academy on Oct. 4, County officials joined firefighters and police officers from around Monmouth County to remember the 45 men and women who have lost their lives in the line of firefighting duty, and publicly thank those who were awarded citations for bravery this past year.

“No matter what time of day or night that alarm goes off, you answer the call to serve,” Freeholder John P. Curley told the firefighters and their families. “Some answered that call and never returned home. Today, we honor their memories and continue our pledge to never forget.”

Curley also thanked the families of the firefighters for their support and sacrifice as well.

The memorial and awards ceremony was led by the Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office, and included displaying a wreath in honor of the 45 firefighters from Monmouth County fire companies who died in the line of duty. As each name was read, backed by the ringing of a bell, a red carnation was placed near the wreath and a salute offered by family members and firefighters.

“This year we recognized fire companies and a police department that dealt with serious structure fires,” Curley said. “These brave men that we honor today, risked their own lives for the sake of saving others and for that, we cannot thank them enough.”

After honoring the fallen, Curley, Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone and Fire Marshal Henry A. Stryker III awarded Unit Citations and Medals of Valor for rescue and firefighting efforts during the past year.

“They are all special and dedicated individuals,” Stryker said. “They are people who, without hesitation, left the safety and security of their families and homes and answered the call. They often place their own lives on the line while working to save the lives and property of others. These firefighters and police officers are truly heroes and we honor them and cheer for them.”

Freeholder Curley, who is the freeholder liaison to the Fire Academy, added, “we are one family here in Monmouth County. We have a magnificent fire academy that trains our firefighters in the latest equipment and actions to take. We will continue on as the as the finest firefighting department in the state, if not the nation.”

Attendees included Freeholder Deputy Director Serena DiMaso, Monmouth County Clerk Christine Hanlon, Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden and Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni.

* A list of award recipients follows:

2015 Award Recipients

Valor awards were presented to the following:

            For rescue during a working structure fire on Nov. 14, 2014:

Ex-Captain Jack Hueston, Middletown Fire Department

Ex-Captain John Waltz, Middletown Fire Department

Engineer Christian Burbank, Middletown Fire Department

For rescue during a fire in Tinton Falls on May 13, 2015:

Asst. Chief Donald Wannamaker, Wayside Fire Company

Firefighter Scott Ritter, Wayside Fire Company

Firefighter Paul Annunziata, Asbury Park Fire Department

For rescue during a structure fire with multiple evacuations on April 10, 2015:

1st Asst. Chief Kenneth Sneath, Eatontown Fire Department

2nd Asst. Chief Tanner Shea, Eatontown Fire Department

1st Asst. Chief Bruce McDonald, Jr., Shrewsbury Fire Department

Unit Citations were awarded to the following:

For rescue during a working structure fire on Nov. 14, 2014:

Middletown Township Fire Department

Firefighter Michael Chenoweth

Firefighter Matthew Deickmann

Firefighter James Phillips

For rescue during a structure fire with multiple evacuations on April 10, 2015:

Eatontown Fire Department

Ex-Chief Jeff Myskowski

Ex-Chief Anthony Gaetano

Firefighter Dane Richards, Jr.

Probationary Firefighter Matt Hamilton

For rescue during a structure fire with a confirmed entrapment on April 6, 2014:

South Wall Fire Rescue

Certificates of recognition were presented to the following:

For rescue during a structure fire with multiple evacuations on April 10, 2015:

Eatontown Police Department

Sergeant Dave Brown

Patrolman Ryan Braswell

Patrolman Mike Sullivan