HOWELL, NJ – In a solemn memorial service at the Monmouth County Fire Academy on   Oct. 2, Freeholder John P. Curley joined firefighters and their families from around Monmouth County to remember the 43 men and women who have lost their lives in the line of firefighting duty, and congratulate those who were awarded citations for bravery this past year.

“It is an honor to be here among heroes,” Curley said during his remarks. “Monmouth County’s firefighters – both volunteers and the paid career men and women – have all gone above and beyond the call of duty, just by virtue of being firefighters. It is not something we forget or take lightly.”

The memorial and awards ceremony was led by the Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office, and included laying of a wreath in honor of the 43 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 at the foot of the flag pole and a salute offered by family members and firefighters.

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

“They are all very special and dedicated individuals,” Stryker said. “They are firefighters who, without hesitation, leave the safety and security of their families, homes and places of work and answer the call – often placing their own lives on the line while working to save the lives and property of others. These firefighters are truly heroes and we honor them and cheer for them.”

“These men and women have exemplified and upheld the proud traditions of the fire service, and we are very glad to have them watching over us,” Curley said. “We are very grateful to you and your families for your efforts.”

The Fallen Firefighters Memorial Services in Monmouth County coincided with the 29th National Fallen Firefighters Memorial weekend that was held in Maryland. October is National Fire Prevention Month.

Award Recipients

Unit Citations were awarded to the following:

  • Long Branch Fire Department, for am Aug. 17 rescue of an individual pinned between the platform of the Elberon Train Station and an NJ Transit train. Cited were Lt. Douglas Powell, and Firefighters Armand Guzzi, Jr., Carl Griffin and Robert Pasquariello.
  • Matawan Fire Department, for the Aug. 12 rescue of an 88-year-old woman trapped during an early morning fire at 164 Broad St. Cited were Capt. Peter Rivera and Firefighters Tracey Newson and Michael Sporer.

Medals of Valor

Earl Alexander, captain, Ocean Fire District No. 1

Brian Kopf, second assistant engineer, Matawan Fire Department

Richard Michitsch, captain, Matawan Fire Department

Keith Finklestein, firefighter, Ocean Fire District No. 1

Stuart Newman, firefighter, Ocean Fire District No. 1

Larry Campbell, Ocean Fire District No. 1

Carl Griffin, firefighter, Long Branch Fire Department

Kevin Hoy, firefighter, Long Branch Fire Department