By Ron Jeffers.-
On Wednesday morning, the largest group of recruits were sworn in as firefighters in the history of the North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue. Forty-three men and one woman joined the ranks of the department that serves Union City, North Bergen, West New York, Weehawken and Guttenberg. The regional department was organized in 1999.
The ceremony was held at the Boulevard Main Ball Room, in North Bergen, where family, friends and local officials gathered for this historic event. Several of the new recruits are related to active and retired firefighters from North Hudson and Jersey City.
Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, Chairman of the Management Board, welcomed the new members and told them they will be responsible for the safety some 225,000 residents in the region.
Chief of Department Frank Montagne told the new members that they are now firefighters, 24/7, and must conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. Listen, learn and ask questions. He added that self-sacrifice is part of their new profession and they may be asked to put their life on the line for other individuals.
Members of the class are: Alexis Rodriguez, Joel Pedroso, Manuel E. Amarante, Litza M. De Jesus, Hamdan Jaludi, Corey E. Jones, John N. Prezioso, Miguel E. Pena, Matthew E. Green, Robert E. Rovito, Matthew Dembroe, Anthony F. Talarico, Byron K. Fisher, Kevin G. Donnelly Jr., Emmanuel Suarez, Daniel R. Urban, Rodrigo D. Marquez, Daniel M. Torres, Thomas Gonyou. Troy Hilcken, Bryan A. Fiorella, Jose A. Martinez, Nicholas M. Cordato, William J. Garcia Cruz, Lucas G. Delpiano, Suriguel German, Daniel F. McEldowney, Robert J. Jedziniak, Jose L. Maldonado, Jose A. Alicea, David Isola, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Fernandez, Matthew M. Drennan, Thomas A. Benavides, Abayemi Arowolo, Kevin D. Conde, Darren Lindsey, Brian J. Murphy, Elie N. Feinberg, Plaze Jordan, Michael Conporti, Marco Collazo, and Mark Petrucelli.
Chief Montagne also thanked the Management Board for their cooperation in keeping manpower at proper levels, as well as the acquisition of new pieces of firefighting apparatus.
The recruits will start their training at the Bergen County Fire Academy on Monday.
Chief Montagne said the future of the Fire Department is bright, “and so is yours.” In conclusion, he added, “Welcome to our family-North Hudson.”