BEACHWOOD – The sound of sirens blasted through the borough, but it was a good thing. It was a parade celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Beachwood Fire Department.
Apparatus from the borough was on display, as well as from neighboring towns. As the sound of sirens faded in the distance, a different sound could be heard – thunder. Would that cause fewer people to come out to the rest of the event?
President Delaney O’Connor said people started showing up at Mayo Park before the parade trucks even got there. For the rest of the afternoon, family games were being played. Casertano’s catered the event and the band No Direction played. There was even a beer truck that was repurposed from a fire truck. Awards were given out to various companies with categories like “Best Antique.”
There was still an awesome turn-out, and even bigger than they anticipated, Chief Roger Hull said. They ran out of shirts that were for sale.
“The town came out and supported us,” he said.
It was a time for some of the past members to come out – people who haven’t seen each other in years.
Past Chief Don Wiesner was the Grand Marshal. A 63-year member, he’s now “90 years old and still sharp as a tack,” Hull said.
He had also been the Ocean County Chief Coordinator and Ocean County Manager to the Firemen’s Home.
The New Jersey Firemen’s Home in Boonton is the only licensed health care facility for firefighters who need assisted living. There’s also a firefighter museum on the grounds. It even has a truck there that Wiesner used to own. Every county in the state has a member on the board of managers, and since 1949, Ocean County’s member has been a Beachwood firefighter. Wiesner had that role from 1972 to 1996. He took care of local people back then, and now they’re taking care of him.
A book was put together for the 100th anniversary. As the town built out, so did the department.
The department was formed June 23, 1922. There had been other fire protection before then, instigated by resident Wanda Lohr. This year, she was named an Honorary Member, “posthumously and long overdue.”
The department’s patch in 1963 was a pine tree similar to the borough’s logo. A patch designed in 1974 has a “Broom Man” wearing fire gear, inspired by “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” The fire company requested and received permission from Disney for this. Joseph O’Neill designed this one and the next one in 1986, that incorporates “Broom Man,” and several other images.
The book also listed every known member and years of service. A memorial page gives honor to two who lost their lives in service, Samuel Aikin and Thomas Miserendino.
How To Help
If you’re thinking about becoming a firefighter or volunteering in another way, stop by the firehouse any Wednesday night.
Donation links can be found on their social media pages and at bvfd16.com.
Upcoming Borough Events
Beachwood will be the location for several other events this summer.
Community Family Nights will start on July 11 and last until August 22. They take place on Mondays from 6-8:30 p.m. at Birch & Surf Park.
Run by the Municipal Alliance, the evenings provide a family atmosphere for crafts, games, snacks, and more.
The opening night will have free t-shirts while supplies last.
It’s a free event. Volunteers are needed. Local organizations interested in setting up a table, contact Geralynn Roma at GRoma@Comcast.net.
Beachwood Community Day will be from noon to 4 p.m. on August 27 at Birch & Surf Park. The day will have live music, entertainment, and games for free.
Food vendors will be on site, as well as face painting, inflatable rides, a petting zoo, health assessments and more. Local organizations and businesses will have tables.
For more information, visit BeachwoodUSA.com.
Although not an official borough event, the Battle of the Zones will be returning, also to Birch & Surf. This is when the four zones in town – divided based on what day their garbage pick-up is – face off in a softball tournament for bragging rights. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 9.