Story and Photos by Ron Jeffers.-
On Monday afternoon, North Hudson regional firefighters took turns stopping at the firehouse at 4911 Broadway, West New York, to congratulate Group 1 commander, Deputy Chief Charles Thomas, on his retirement after serving the citizens of North Bergen and North Hudson for over 30-years.
There was something special to this retirement. There will no longer be a Thomas protecting citizens since 1927, when the chief’s grandfather was appointed to the North Bergen Fire Department. In 1957, his father, Charles Sr., joined the NBFD. Charles Thomas, Jr., was appointed to the North Bergen department in 1988, and he later began to serve a greater area when this department merged with four others to establish the North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue in 1999. Charles, Sr., was also in charge of Group 1 with the former NBFD.
Thomas was described as “one of the most caring guys,” by Chief of Department Frank Montagne. He was also described by his fellow officers as always being concerned for the members safety, honest, loyal, conscientious and possessing a great sense of humor.
“You can not replace his knowledge and experience,” said 3rd Battalion Chief Dan DeOrio. D.C. Thomas
had some reservations about retiring, but the beat goes on, and it’s time to move forward with other goals in life.
Chief Montagne summed things up by saying, “This is the greatest job in the world.”