The Fallen Firefighters Memorial was dedicated at the Monmouth County Fire Academy in Howell on Sunday morning during a moving ceremony that commemorated the courage of the 47 heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting the lives and property of county residents from 1881 through 2017.
Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Curley said in his remarks that the memorial was the vision of the late Freeholder Ted Narozanik. “When I took office eight years ago, Ted pulled him aside and told me to get this done,” Curley said as he thanked the other members of the Freeholder Board for providing the funding for the memorial.
“You’re the most patriotic people I have ever met,” Minervini told the gathered firefighters. “When you look at the sculpture, notice that the firefighter is embracing the flag. And the flag is embracing you back. Notice the firefighter’s eyes. He is looking over your shoulder to the people standing behind you, the firefighters who came before you. And he is looking over your shoulder toward the people you serve.”
The names of each of the 47 fallen, starting with Fire Fighter William H. Conrow of the Red Bank Fire Department who perished in 1881 and concluding with Fire Fighter Daniel McCann of Manasquan who died in a fire in September of 2016 were recited as members or the fallen’s families and/or their fire companies laid a flower at the foot of the monument. Fifteen firefighters who perished battling New Jersey wildfires between 1936 and 1977 were also honored.
The ceremony also included Medal Awards. McCann’s parents and sister accepted the Medal of Supreme Sacrifice for their family member Daniel Patrick III. Unit Citations were awarded to the Southard Fire Company of Howell and Neptune Township first responders including police, fire fighters , EMTs , EMS and paramedics. Administrative awards were presented to Deputy Fire Marshal Frederick Migliaccio and Fire Academy Instructor Stanley Sickels.