FIRE IS NO MATCH FOR THIS CHIEF!
by MATTHEW AMATO
columnist
Apr 10, 2011 | 1746 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print


Born in Brooklyn in 1936, Secaucus Volunteer Fire Department Chief George R. Schoenrock came to live in the town of Secaucus at six months old. His loving mother Edna died in childbirth and his father Charles, a chemist, is also deceased. Chief Schoenrock was raised by guardians Christopher and Minnie Barter. They were related to his parents, and they were good father and mother guardian-figures.

He attended the Huber Street Grammar School and the old former Lincoln Junior High School on County Avenue. He registered to study at Dickinson High School in Jersey City in 1954, because that was the only high school that taught vocational courses, and that was the direction he wanted to go as a student.

Afterward, he went to work at Western Electric Company in Kearny as a wiring inspector. Later he took employment at Public Service Electric and Gas Company in Jersey City, and then became employed at the Electric Distribution Company in Jersey City until 1969 when the company moved to Secaucus, his hometown, and he stayed on until retirement there in 1999, after being promoted to a field safety supervisor with the firm.

Chief Schoenrock became a Civil Defense Auxiliary Fireman with the Town of Secaucus in 1960. Then in 1962, the Town of Secaucus made him a full-time volunteer firefighter. He admits that after retirement with private industry he started to get bored, so he then put full focus into the Secaucus Volunteer Fire Department, and started to move up the ranks. Chief Schoenrock tells us professionally that all volunteer firemen receive a small monthly stipend, and a yearly clothing allowance.

Chief Schoenrock has served twice in the past as chief, and this is his third time in the position that he so very much enjoys. He first became volunteer fire chief in 1991-1992; then was appointed in 2009 to fill a vacancy for approximately a year, then afterward became a volunteer deputy chief; and then in January, 2011 he was moved-up by town ordinance to volunteer fire chief again until 2012, as the position is for a two-year term. His volunteer deputy chief is William Sallick, and his volunteer battalion chief is Bryan Schock, said Chief Schoenrock.

Chief Schoenrock’s job is 24/7-365/366, and he receives all kinds of calls at all times of the day and night, from small to large emergencies. His largest emergency that he could remember was a fire at the old American Can Company on New County Road in Secaucus many years ago, that took a full week to put-out. He remembers this to be the hardest fire to fight in his career! While this columnist was interviewing Chief Schoenrock, he received an alarm call regarding a kitchen stove-top fire in Secaucus, and we had to return to this interview and finish-up later that day.

Chief Schoenrock shows his sense of humor when he speaks about his lovely wife Connie, and how he rescued her from Wallington, New Jersey, a little over 53-years ago and married her. They recently celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary this past Feb. 16, 2011. They have three sons, Robert, Dennis, and Brian, a daughter Kim, and had a daughter Nancy who is now deceased. They have three grandkids, grandson Connor, and granddaughters Kirstyn and .

Leisure time for Chief Schoenrock is gardening, and day-trips with the Secaucus Golden Age Senior Club. He has also traveled in the past to England, Italy, Austria, France, and the Netherlands. He walks four miles a day for exercise, and likes the country and western music of Johnny Cash, Jim Reeves, and Merle Haggard. As for musical instruments, the only one that he has ever played was the kazoo at parties, he laughs heartily!

His hobbies are collecting fire department memorabilia, and he has a mini-museum in his home, and he will not charge anyone for a visual and verbal walking tour of his homestead if asked. Professionally, he is a Life Member of the New Jersey State Fireman’s Association, and also a Life Member of the New Jersey State Fire Exempt Fireman’s Association. He annually attends the New Jersey State Firemen’s Convention in Wildwood and has received numerous Fireman’s Appreciation Awards over the years. Chief Schoenrock also tells us that he belongs to a number of antique car clubs, and owns a 1957 Pontiac Star Chief that he takes to auto shows.

Chief Schoenrock is a communicant of Saint Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Secaucus, while the rest of his family are communicants of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Secaucus. Chief Schoenrock states that he loves his family, his job, and the Secaucus Volunteer Fire Department!

Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli, who is also a volunteer firefighter, says that Chief Schoenrock is one of the old-time great firefighters, the oldest and most active who has never missed an alarm call, and is truly dedicated to the department.

Former Secaucus Mayor Paul Amico says that Chief Schoenrock is well respected, of good caliber, and good for the community. Ditto, says former Volunteer Fire Captain and current Volunteer Fireman Charles Voorhees, who says that Chief Schoenrock is a good chief and a good man.

To Chief George Schoenrock, who is astrologically a Leo and a Fire Sign, which is true to his calling – All The Best!

Guttenberg’s Charles P. Drago has been named to the Dean’s List at Western New England College in the State of Maryland. Best of luck, Mr. Drago!

Katie Healy, daughter of Donald and Maureen Healy of Union City, a student at Saint Michael’s College, has participated in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival held recently in Fitchburg, Maryland and sponsored by the Fitchburg State University. Congratulations Ms. Healy!

Christina Winslow of West New York was named to the Dean’s List at DeSales University in Pennsylvania. Best wishes Ms. Winslow!

The 11th Annual “A Taste of Weehawken,” is set for Tuesday, April 26, and will be hosted by the Weehawken Public Library as announced by the President of the Library Board of Trustees Leona Nersesian, at The Food Court at Lincoln Harbor, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

For further information, call the library at (201) 863-7823, and ask for Library Director Philip Greco and Librarian Kelly Fitzgerald, and of course, when you bump into Mayor Richard Turner, On The Streets Where We Live, do of course ask him! Buon Appetito!

Hudson County Surrogate Judge Donald W. De Leo of North Bergen, will give another free verbal seminar on the subject of “New Information on Wills, Living Wills, Living Trusts, and Stories from your Hudson County Surrogate’s Court,” on Wednesday, April 13 at 1 p.m. at the Exxon Mobil Annuitants Club, to be held at the Bayonne Senior Center, at 16 West 4th Street and Broadway, in Bayonne. These very popular seminars have been very helpful to young adults, just-marrieds, and senior citizens alike. So why not attend? Just get into your car, take a bus or taxi, or car-pool; but go and attend; you will be glad you did! For more information call Mr. DeLeo’s office at (201) 795-6378. CALL NOW!

And so it goes … until next time …see you around town …MATT



Readers who would like to contribute to this column can do so by mailing your news items along with your photographs to Matthew Amato, columnist, c/o The Hudson Reporter, 1400 Washington St., Hoboken, New Jersey 07030.

Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet