In December, the Bayonne Fire Department held a graduation ceremony for thirteen new firefighters. At the same event, Michael Mullane and Gustavo Caamano were promoted to the rank of Captain.
The new firefighters are Keith Ribbecke, Michael Nolan, Christopher Regan, Brian Johnston, Matthew Lojewski, Michael Cotter, Jonathan McHugh, Matthew Nowak, Jacob McNamara, Shannon Hester, Matthew O’Hara, Erik Lyman, and Mitesh Patel. They are graduates of the Bergen County Fire Academy, and have also received training from the Bayonne Fire Department.
City Clerk Madelene Medina administered the oaths of office to the captains and the firefighters.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mayor Jimmy Davis cited the “professionalism” of the two new captains. He said that the new recruits were “joining the ranks of one of the finest fire departments in the United States.”
City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski said to Captains Mullane and Caamano, “You’re an example” to the new firefighters. She wished the new recruits “a successful, long career.”
City Council Member At-Large Juan Perez called the ceremony “a proud moment.” Under the leadership of Chief Keith Weaver, he called the Bayonne Fire Department “a department that is second to none.”
Public Safety Director Robert Kubert said that the new captains “proved themselves out in the field,” and that the new firefighters “went through hell at the academy.” He advised the recent academy graduates that they would be doing a variety of tasks in addition to firefighting, such as pumping out basements and dealing with electrical problems.
Fire Chief Weaver explained that Captains Mullane and Caamano would be making “split-second decisions,” and would have to demonstrate “knowledge, fairness, and ability.” He thanked Mayor Davis and the City Council for supporting the Fire Department.
The new class of firefighters was dedicated to former firefighters George and Carl Paczkowski, who served for a combined 65 years in the Bayonne Fire Department.
Captain Gustavo Caamano is a graduate of Bayonne High School. He attended New Jersey City University, majoring in Fire Science. He holds the Unit Citation Award, the Medal of Valor Award from the State of New Jersey, and the Chief Thomas R. Lynch Award for Outstanding Service. He was Firefighter of the Year in 2015 and 2020.
Captain Michael Mullane is a graduate of Marist High School. He attended Rutgers University and Montclair State University from 1996 to 1998, majoring in Political Science. He served as a Bayonne Police Officer from 1998 to 1999, when he was appointed to the Bayonne Fire Department. He holds certifications for Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Hazardous Materials Technician, and Confined Space Technician.
Firefighter Shannon Hester is Bayonne’s fourth female firefighter. She is a graduate of St. Dominic’s Academy. At Loyola University New Orleans, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science. Before joining the Fire Department, she taught Science at Xavier High School in New York and coached Cross Country Track for Notre Dame School.
Firefighter Matthew Nowak is a graduate of Bayonne High School. He was employed previously at IMTT as a Bulk Oil Operator.
Firefighter Keith Ribbecke is a graduate of Bayonne High School. He holds a Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He was employed formerly at PepsiCo Tropicana as a Forklift Operator.
Firefighter Erik Lyman is a graduate of Hodgson Vocational Technical High School. He earned a B.A.S. degree in Hospitality Management at Southern New Hampshire University. He was employed previously at the Bayonne Police Department.
Firefighter Mitesh Patel is the first Indian-American in the Bayonne Fire Department. He is a graduate of Bayonne High School.
Firefighter Christopher Regan is a graduate of St. Peter’s Prep. He attended Seton Hall University, majoring in Business. He was employed previously by Suez Water as a Utility Tech.
Firefighter Michael Cotter is a graduate of West Morris High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business at James Madison University.
Firefighter Matthew Lojewski is a graduate of Bayonne High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing at the College of New Jersey.
Firefighter Michael Nolan is a graduate of Bayonne High School. He completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology at the College of New Jersey.
Firefighter Matthew O’Hara is a graduate of County Prep. He received an Associate’s degree in Applied Science at SUNY Maritime College in New York. He worked previously at Statue City Cruise as a Captain.
Firefighter Brian Johnston is a graduate of St. Peter’s Prep. He attended LaSalle University in Philadelphia. He was employed previously as a Maintenance Worker with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
Firefighter Jacob McNamara is a graduate of Bayonne High School. He attended New Jersey City University, majoring in Fire Science. He was employed previously as a Soccer Referee.
Firefighter Jonathan McHugh is a graduate of Bayonne High School. He attended New Jersey Institute of Technology, majoring in Civil Engineering. He was employed previously as a Lead Foreman at Restore Pro Contracting.