Monday, March 4, 2024

Frelinghuysen Swears in Township’s First Firefighters

Seen here, L-R: Keith D. Ramos, Scott Winfield, David Possehl, James Patrick Burns, Chief John Shoemaker, Benny Perez, Deputy Chief Angel Ortiz, Christian Ventura, Todd McPeek, Thomas Heaton and Johnny Lopez Sosa were sworn in June 21st to serve as Frelinghuysen’s First fire department. Photo by Joe Phalon, 7/2023

The first 12 members of the nascent Frelinghuysen Township Fire Co. were sworn in at the Township Committee’s June 14th meeting.

“We’re here today to recognize these exceptional individuals who have paved the way for a noble cause, the founding members of the Frelinghuysen Volunteer Fire Company,” said Mayor Keith Ramos. “They stand before us as an example of selflessness, bravery, and dedication, embodying the very spirit of community service.”

Frelinghuysen Deputy Chief Angel Ortiz is sworn in by Chief John Shoemaker and Mayor Keith Ramos. Photo by Joe Phalon, 7/2023.

Ramos and Chief John Shoemaker, who was sworn in last year, began the process of inducting the new members beginning with Deputy Chief Angel Ortiz. He was followed by firefighters Christian Ventura, Thomas Heaton, Johnny Lopez Sosa, Benny Perez, Todd McPeek, Keith D. Ramos, Scott Winfield, James Patrick Burns, David Possehl. Capt. James Kevin Burns was sworn in at the June 21st committee meeting.

“You are part of history. Frelinghuysen’s history, Warren County’s history, the State of NJ’s history, and your families’ histories. Anyone can tear something down, but only a few can truly build something,” Ramos said. “You gentlemen are those few.”

In August of last year, the committee authorized $67,500 for fire department expenses. In addition, salaries were established for the positions in the department. The chief’s position was allocated at $500 to $1,000, annually; deputy chief $400 to $600; and secretary and treasurer at $200 to $400 each. The funds were already allocated in the current budget, Ramos said.

Before the fire truck or a new firehouse can become operational, all fire department facilities and equipment must be inspected and approved by county and state officials, Ramos added.

The new fire company is the first one built from scratch in New Jersey in several decades.

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.