On the morning of March 13, North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue held a hiring ceremony for 44 firefighters. The room was packed with family, friends, and future coworkers in North Bergen. This class of first responders will be the largest the department has seen since it was regionalized in 1999 by the four towns it serves.
The second-largest class was 37 recruits inducted in 2018, all military veterans.
The most recent class will begin its nine-week academy training on March 18, providing better personnel power, ranks, and response times to North Hudson stations. Among the recruits is Litza M De Jesus, the second woman since Lisa Napier joined the force in early 2018.
The 44 recruits sworn in by Chief Frank Montagne were Alexis Rodriguez, Joel Pedroso, Manuel E. Amarante, Litza M. De Jesus, Hamdan Jaludi, Corey E. Jones, John N. Prezioso, Miguel E. Pena, Matthew E. Green, Robert E. Rovito, Matthew Dembroe, Anthony F. Talarico, Byron K. Fisher, Kevin G. Donnelly Jr., Emmanuel Suarez, Daniel R. Urban, Rodrigo D. Marquez, Daniel M. Torres, Thomas Gonyou, Troy Hilcken, Bryan A. Fiorella, Jose A. Martinez, Nicholas M. Cordato, William J. Garcia Cruz, Lucas G. Delpiano, Suriguel German, Daniel F. McEldowney, Robert J. Jedziniak, Jose L. Maldonado, Jose A. Alicea, David Isola, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Fernandez, Matthew M. Drennan, Thomas A. Benavides, Abayemi Arowolo, Kevin D. Conde, Darren Lindsey, Brian J. Murphy, Elie N. Feinberg, Plaze Jordan, Michael Conporti, Marco Collazo, and Mark Petrucelli.
‘Our future is bright’
The hiring ceremony was held at The Boulevard in North Bergen and attended by Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, Chief Frank Montagne, Executive Directors Jeff Welz and Michael DeOrio, North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco, Guttenberg Mayor Wayne Zitt, West New York Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo, and the department’s board members.
“I have full confidence that every one of you will be successful in the North Hudson Fire Department. Welcome to our family.” – Chief Frank Montagne
“Your life has changed, you’re firefighters 24/7,” Montagne said. “I want to share some qualities and traits of firefighters that I hope you’re all inspired to be, to have integrity and be dedicated to your profession. Show tolerance of others — your coworkers and your community. You’ve been asked to put your life on the line for your community. Be honest. Don’t stand back, take initiative. Be motivated self-starters. Listen and learn from your superiors and peers. Ask questions; every question can make a difference in saving a life. Check your equipment diligently. Be positive and try your best every day. Our future’s bright and so is yours.”
“I have full confidence that every one of you will be successful in the North Hudson Fire Department. Welcome to our family.”
Two of the department’s founding mayors were among those who wished the new recruits safe and successful careers. Turner is currently the chairman of the department’s board, and Sacco was one of the mayors who took part in regionalizing the department in 1999.
“It’s another historic day for North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue,” Turner said. “This is the largest recruitment class we’ve ever had, and we’re very proud.” He said that the recruits, who will be protecting roughly 225,000 residents, “have distinguished themselves as strong and dedicated individuals in a field of hundreds of candidates.”
“North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue is the most efficient, effective fire protection unit in the state, but it can only stay that way if we ensure that we have adequate manpower,” Sacco said. “I’m proud that we are taking this step today of hiring this large, diverse class of firefighter recruits, and I look forward to watching their careers in public service develop as they work to keep all of us safe.”
“It takes a lot of courage to be able to run into harm’s way, when everyone else is running from harm’s way.” – West New York Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo
Sacco noted the need to commit to the department’s growth in personnel and financial support, concluding that “cutting corners doesn’t work.”
“Day in and day out, you’re there for us when we need you,” West New York Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo said. “On behalf of all the families and residents of West New York, I thank you. It takes a lot of courage to be able to run into harm’s way, when everyone else is running from harm’s way.”
The new recruits began their training on March 18.
For updates on this and more stories visit hudsonreporter.com or follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Mike Montemarano can be reached at email@example.com.