September 16, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 17 100th ANNIVERSARY A desire to help the community is what brings residents to volunteer to serve on the fire department, and the camaraderie and strong bonds they form with their fellow firefighters is was keeps them in for decades. Thus spoke several veteran Midland Park firefighters last week when they met with Villadom Times reporter Ester Vierheilig to reminisce about their experiences. “You can’t make any stronger friends that the ones you make here. You go into a fire together, and you watch out for each other,” said Peter Jeffer, who’s been a member for 35 years. His father, two brothers and son were also Midland Park firemen. “Our whole life revolved around the department,” said Edward Hollema, a fireman for 55 years. “The women did everything with us,” he added, explaining that there were regular social activities, including pot luck suppers, picnics and other family events. Sam Schaper, a 42-year fireman, remembers the time he and his family moved to a Camaraderie helps recruitment and volunteer retention home across the street. “Everybody showed up for the move without being asked. They picked up a piece of furniture and took it across to the new house. We didn’t need a moving truck. Afterwards my wife made spaghetti and we shared a few beers,” he recalled. That bond has also helped to attract new members. “Midland Park’s been lucky,” said Hollema, whose son was the fire chief for four years and whose two sons in law also served. “We’ve been able to attract young kids.” He acknowledged, however, that the extensive training that is required serves as a deterrent. Volunteers must attend classes at the Police and Fire Academy three times a week for 20 weeks to be certified. And they must attend weekly drills in addition to turning out for fires. Schaper said that the best recruitment tool is word of mouth. “The young kids know us from around town, and they see how active we are, so they want to join,” Schaper said. Firefighters helping out at a community event. The veteran volunteers reflected on the major advances the department experienced in the last 50 years and what the future might hold. Training is now a major force, they said, sometimes discouraging new recruits. Equipment is much better and more sophisticated and is computer operated. “We didn’t have Scott packs when I started, and the fire truck had a manual gear shift,” said Hollema. Communications have progressed from “kids’ walkie talkies’ to present day pagers, they said. And the firemen have their own firehouse and meeting room, built in 1979, instead of cramped quarters in town hall. The department is proud of its own training program, its fire prevention activities, its college scholarship program, its participation in the mutual aid network and its ability to retain volunteers. The veteran firemen, however, expressed concern about the possibility of the state forcing towns into fire districts. “I’m against fire districts,” said Jeffer, voicing the others’ concerns. “Response time is everything. The closer you are to the firehouse, the faster the response. I’ve seen it elsewhere, where the firemen have a long ride to get to the firehouse and then from the firehouse to the fire,” he added. “We always get a truck out, and then we have Mutual Aid,” he added. Thank You, Midland Park Fire Dept. for 100 Years of Keeping Us Safe Congratulations to the Midland Park Fire Department on 100 years of dedicated service. Spa & Boutique Grooming Accessories Day Care Pet Grooming & Day Care by Appointment 26 Central Avenue • Midland Park, NJ 07432 201-447-WOOF (9663) Community Lunch of Midland Park (1939-2009) 143 Godwin Avenue • Midland Park Andy’s 201-652-5151 9-16-09 Ester/Janine LeChienFire3x2(9-16-09) 3 x 2” ������������������ ���������������� ��������������� ����� ������������ ���� THE BROWNSTONE MILL 9-16-09 ester/janine SPECIALTY SHOPS Wednesday thru Andys2x2(9-16-09) Saturday 10:30-5:00 201-445-3074 • • 2 x 2” PATERSON AVE,201-652-5585 PARK 11 MIDLAND Rt.4W or Rt.287 to Rt.208, exit at Goffle Rd./Midland Park, 2 miles Items We Carry • Antiques • Toys • Trunks • Silverware • Playbills • Vintage Games • Collectibles • Comic Books • Ephemera • Postcards • Sheet Music • Vintage Jewelry • Sterling Silver �������������������� �������������� ��������������������� Best Wishes to Midland Park Fire Department on its 100th Anniversary Services We Provide • Reiki Wellness • Chairs Glued • Decorative Accessories • Oil Paintings & Prints • China • Lamps/Lighting • Furniture • Dolls • Doll Houses & Accessories • Depression Glass • Vintage China • Mirrors • Crystal Chandeliers ������������������������������ • Upholstery • Trunk Restoration • Drapery • Hair Salon • Custom Painted Furniture • Window Treatments