Santa Parade 2013

Santa and his helpers before embarking on the 2013 parade through Fanwood to deliver presents to our kids.

65th Anniversary Celebration

 Squad members in festive red theme shirts celebrated our 65th Anniversary at the big gala at Evangel Church on Nov. 16th, 2013. Mayor Colleen Mahr helped us cut the cake. More than 150 people showed up for food from Nick’s, music by Fanwood performers and a little but of squad history. Thanks to all our members who worked so hard to make the event the success it was. Thanks also to Evangel Church’s Pastor Chris Morante and administrator Druanne Glascott who made it way easy.

2014 Officers Elected

Congratulations to our new officers for 2014, elected by the Fanwood Rescue Squad membership on Tuesday, November 5, 2013, to wit:

  • President: Steve Siegal
  • Vice President: Jeff Downing
  • Treasurer: Bob Kruthers
  • Recording Secretary: Jamie Pedinoff
  • Corresponding Secretary: Karolyn Buckridee
  • Captain: Patty Buckridee
  • 1st Lt: Nancy Mustachio
  • 2nd Lt: Rob Villegas
  • Sergeant: Ian Lewis
  • Training Officer: Jeff Carr
  • Chaplain: Karolyn Buckridee
  • Historian: Tom Kranz
  • Trustees: Tom Kranz, Jamie Pedinoff & Dave Zawodniak
  • Delegates: Karolyn Buckridee, Ian Lewis & Nancy D’Ambrosio
  • Alternate Delegates: Melissa Padulsky, Joan Lozowski & Brian Downing

The Passing of John Oatis

John Oatis, Memorial Day 2013
Long time Rescue Squad member John Oatis died at home on June 23rd, 2013, after a two year battle with cancer. He was 69. Oatis held most every office with the organization, including president and vice president, as well as going out on more then 2,100 calls during his tenure as a volunteer. Oatis lived across the street from the rescue squad and kept an eye on the building. “He was kind of our unofficial caretaker,” said Captain Tom Kranz. “We all got accustomed to him being around. He was very dedicated. He was a good friend to me, he was a good friend to our squad and I’m going to miss him. He was also fairly well known in town.” A graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University and U.S. Army veteran, John was born in East Orange, grew up in Summit and moved to Fanwood in 1977. He worked for most of his career in insurance and was his most recent job was as a real estate agent with ERA Suburb Realty in Scotch Plains. A memorial service was held Saturday, July 13th, at Fanwood Presbyterian Church.

Squad Turns Out for Memorial Day

Squad readies for the Memorial Day ceremony at the Fanwood Library.
Squad readies for the Memorial Day ceremony at the Fanwood Library.

Rob Villegas, 2013 EMT of the Year

Robert Villegas with Nancy Mustachio
Rob joined the Fanwood Rescue Squad in December 2009, and began riding as an EMT in August 2010 after arriving back to the States from studying abroad in London. While Rob was in school, he was a member of Fordham University Emergency Medical Service, where he held the positions of Lieutenant/Supply Officer during his Junior year, and eventually rising to Captain of Medical Operations his senior year. He currently holds the position of Sergeant at FRS, and was one of the top responders for 2012, with 209 calls answered, or 27% of the calls for the year. When he’s not responding to calls, Rob works in Manhattan in the technology industry. Rob holds a degree in Management of Information and Communication systems, and one day hopes to be the Chief Information Officer of a corporation. Rob is also an Eagle Scout, which is where his interest in First Aid originally began. In his “spare” time, he raises bees in his backyard. Congrats, Rob. We’re very proud of you!

2013 Choir Concert Packs Fanwood Presbyterian Church

The sanctuary of Fanwood Presbyterian Church was filled to capacity on Sunday, May 19th 2013, for the 2nd annual choir concert benefitting the Fanwood and Scotch Plains Rescue Squads. Music Ministry Director Tom Berdos led a large, regional choir with guest musicians and conductors for a concert that included inspirational and patriotic music.

Knights of Columbus Awards 2013

President Nancy Mustachio and awarded Steve Siegal

Fanwood Rescue Squad EMT Steve Siegal was honored for more than 20 years of service to the squad during the 38th annual Knights of Columbus Shield Awards March 21, 2013, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

“He’s just a regular guy,” said squad president Nancy Mustachio, “who is always there. We appreciate his service.”

Steve originally joined the squad to gain medical experience for his planned career as a physician’s aide. He turned out to have a talent for managing people and spent a number of years in the food service industry followed by a successful career in sales.

Fanwood and Scotch Plains firemen who tried to save the lives of a mother and son who died in a December, 2012, house fire were among the other public safety responders honored by the Knights.

Fanwood Fire Chief John Piccola and Scotch Plains Fire Chief Jonathan Ellis each cited members of their departments who responded to a house fire on Church Avenue in Scotch Plains on December 18th, 2012. Upon arriving, Scotch Plains firefighters Matt Adams and Dennis Hercel, Jr., made entry into the smoke filled building, discovered a woman and her 3-year old son barricaded inside a second floor room. They removed the victims with the assistance of Fanwood Fire Captain Frank Dietl and firefighter Brian Piccola who began CPR on the unresponsive victims. Neither the woman, Katherine Halverson, 32, nor her son, Jeremy McDonald, 3, nor the family dog survived in what authorities later determined was a murder/suicide committed by Halverson.

“It was truly a team effort,” said Chief Ellis. “Those victims had the best possible chance of surviving. Unfortunately, it was not the outcome we had hoped for.”

Also honored was the entire Fanwood Police Department for its extraordinary efforts during and after Hurricane Sandy. They were represented by Sgt. Frank Marrerro and Patrolmen Mike Rusin and Ryan Gilmore.

Scotch Plains police officers Brian Cheney and Christian Ostrowski and Sgt. Michael Tardi were cited for entering a burning building on Mountain Avenue in October, 2012, and rescuing an elderly couple and other residents who had fled to the roof. Their story was related by Lt. Jeff Briel who represented Chief Brian Mahoney.

Scotch Plains Rescue Squad EMT Greg Cassidy was honored for his tireless dedication to the squad despite a challenging college schedule. Cassidy, whose father Brian Cassidy is a physician and 20-year member of the squad, attends college in Rhode Island.

“He makes more calls than many members who live here in town,” said Squad Captain Dan Sullivan.

Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover and Fanwood Borough Councilwoman Kathy Mitchell also spoke in support of the honorees.

2013 Awards Dinner

Another great awards dinner at Berkeley Plaza, Berkeley Heights, NJ. Award highlights:

5 Years of Service:

  • Dan Kranz
  • Dennis Munchel
  • Dan Strachman

10 Years of Service:

  • Jim Drewes

20 Years of Service:

  • Steve Siegal
  • Dave Zawodniak

55 Years of Service:

  • Bob Kruthers

A number of members also received a special award pin for Hurricane Sandy coverage.