‘Bravery, sacrifice and unwavering commitment’

Princeton volunteer firefighters honored for their years of service

Princeton Council honors Princeton Fire Department's volunteer firefighters for their service on Jan. 22. PHOTO COURTESY OF PRINCETON

The Princeton Fire Department’s volunteer firefighters – some of whom have volunteered for as many as 75 years – were honored by the Princeton Council at its Jan. 22 meeting.

The ceremony to acknowledge the volunteers’ service was long overdue, postponed in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mayor Mark Freda.

Assistant Fire Chief Henry Pannell welcomed the roomful of volunteer firefighters and their families and friends to the awards ceremony.

“We gather to pay tribute to the incredible legacy of our fire department, spanning over two centuries of dedicated service to our community,” Pannell said.

The Princeton Fire Department was organized in 1788. The volunteers belong to one of three companies – Princeton Hook & Ladder Co., Princeton Engine Co. No. 1 and Mercer Engine Co. No. 3.

“Each passing year is a chapter in a story of bravery, sacrifice and unwavering commitment to the safety and well-being of our neighbors,” Pannell said.

Speaking to the volunteer firefighters, Pannell praised them for their courage and selflessness, which has been the bedrock of the community’s safety.

“Whether battling flames, rescuing lives or providing crucial support, you have exemplified the true spirit of service. We express our deepest gratitude for every moment you have spent ensuring the safety of our community,” he said.

Pannell also praised the volunteers’ families, who share in the sacrifice and challenges that accompany their loved one’s service.

“They are the silent heroes who have enabled the volunteers to serve,” he said.

Pannell handed over the rest of the awards ceremony to William Shields, the president of Princeton Engine Co. No. 1.

Shield presented a proclamation to Robert Higgins, honoring him for 75 years of service as a volunteer firefighter.

John Clausen, Edward Moyer and the late Jack Petrone were honored with proclamations for 60 years of service.

The late George Johnson was honored with a proclamation for 55 years of service.

Awards for 50 years of service were given to the late William Hunter, Alfred Kahn, Anthony Krystaponis, Henry Shields and William Shields.

Mayor Freda, Jeffrey Golomb and Eric Karch were honored for 45 years of service, and Robert Toole and Alex Versfeld were recognized for 40 years of service.

David Goldfarb, Neil Hunter, Michael Miller, Anthony Santoro, Thomas Stange, David Steward and Daniel Tomalin were recognized for 35 years of service, and William Urian was honored for 30 years of service.

Awards for 25 years of volunteer service were given to George Luck III and Rick Miller. For 20 years of service, awards were given to Lietta Kahn and Alexander Ridings.

Sal Baldino, Matthew Freedman, Michael Golomb, T.R. Johnson, Henry Pannell and James Simon were honored for 15 years of service. Ronald DiLapo, Gregory Griffis and W. Patrick Shields were recognized for 10 years of service.

Recognition for five years of service was given to Gianluca Baldino, Douglas Davis, Yvette Felder, Keith Wadsworth and Luke Walthour.