Most of the time, you don't know who they are until you really need them
They often rise in the middle of the night to staunch a wound, ease someone's pain or help them breathe. They see things most of us will never see and most of us don't want to see.
They are the first responders. They are the people who fill the rosters of Berkeley's first aid squads and fire departments.
And Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. wants to make sure Berkeley residents know who they are before they are needed.
Amato announced at a recent Township Council meeting that he and the governing body would be honoring first responders on a regular basis.
"They do a lot for nothing," Amato said. "This is just a small token of our appreciation.They save the taxpayers millions of dollars each year and they do a great job."
First up were the members of the Silver Ridge Park First Aid Squad, who were recognized for their lengths of service. They include:
- Eileen Merlino, 23 years.
- Squad President Anthony Pappagallo, 15 years.
- Squad Secretary Loretta Walsh, 15 years.
- Chaplain James McCauley - 15 years.
- Joseph Donahue, 14 years.
- Instructor Joseph Blake, 12 years
- Anthony Giambagno, 11 years.
- Beatrice Humphris, 11 years.
- Captain Joseph Busse, 10 years
- Norbert Maier, 9 years
- Squad Treasurer Carol Matthews, 7 years
- Squad Sergeant Patricia Natoli, 5 years
Next up were members of the Bayville First Aid Squad, who were honored for the number of calls they answered in 2011. They include:
- Robert Wood, 480 calls
- John Bialuk, 217 calls
- Debbie Dasti, 326 calls
- Mary Anny Thoma, 480 calls
- Robert Laird, 220 calls
- Squad member Cody Jordan was also recognized.
The top five Bayville responders answered a total of 1,900 calls in 2011, Amato said.
"We just want to say thank you for everything you do for us and the people of Berkeley Township," Councilwoman Fran Siddons said.