JACKSON – Amid an important ordinance, several resolutions and the governing body’s usual consent agenda, the Township Council meeting opened on a more personal note, by honoring long-time firefighter Honorary Chief Nicolas Prioli.
Prioli was celebrating his 88th birthday that day and was presented a proclamation from Mayor Michael Reina and Vice Council President Alex Sauickie III.
Prioli was joined by family, friends and many fellow firefighters of the township. Other members of the council included Councilmen Andrew Kern, Ken Bressi and Martin Flemming who joined him for a group photo and proclaimed Feb. 11 “Chief Nicholas Prioli Day.” Township Council President Barry Calogero was absent due to illness.
“We have a special event tonight and I thank all the firefighters who are gathered here. Occasionally we do a proclamation to recognize an individual or organization. Tonight, we are recognizing someone and designating a day which is a rare event and something recognizable and when you hear about this individual, I think you’ll understand why,” Sauickie told the audience.
“We are gathered here today with family, friends and residents, as we honor Chief Nicholas Prioli on this, his 88th birthday,” Sauickie said as he read the proclamation.
Prioli was born on Feb. 11, 1932 and was raised in Newark prior to moving to Maplewood in 1946. After high school, he went on to Michigan State College where he graduated in 1953 with a Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry.
The chief went on to further his education at the University of Pennsylvania. He married the love of his life, Helen, in 1954. They started their family which grew to include four sons, five daughters, 29 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren.
Sauickie said Prioli became a resident of Jackson Township in 1963 and decided to join Jackson’s “Fighting 55” Fire Station in 1995. “He has held many positions within the department including vice president in 1997, treasurer since 2002 and safety officer since 2009, and is involved in many committees such as hall rental, fundraising, membership, mailer and bingo chairman.”
“He is a top 10 responder every year, a life member, the most senior active firefighter in Jackson Township and named honorary chief in 2008,” Sauickie said.
Sauickie went on to say, “in honor of his many years of exemplary service to Jackson Fire Station 55, for the unlimited amount of help he is always there to give and for the friendship that he has extended to all of us throughout the years, we do hereby proclaim Feb. 11, 2020 as “Chief Nicolas Prioli Day” in Jackson Township and encourage all citizens to pay special tribute to this very special member of our community.”
The governing body and audience joined in singing happy birthday to Prioli who was all smiles as he came forward to accept the framed proclamation and stood beside his fellow dress uniformed fire fighters.
Mayor Michael Reina commented later during the meeting, “we all came together to celebrate his 88th birthday and celebrate the achievements of the oldest firefighter in Jackson. That is what matters!”
Reina has been a strong proponent for volunteerism in the township and noted that Prioli’s service exemplified that type of strong community spirit.