The Burlington Township Council dedicated a portion of the Sept. 24 meeting to acknowledge the group efforts of local volunteers who stepped up in a time of need earlier this year.
The council members recognized and honored the Burlington Township Fire Department Water Rescue Team for their life-saving operations on June 20. Although six members of the team were present at the meeting on behalf of the group, officials reported that approximately nine more volunteers were involved with the June 20 rescue efforts.
When the fire department was dispatched at approximately 1:45 a.m. to extinguish a house fire on Rose Lane, Marine 30 was dispatched soon after at approximately 2:45 a.m. due to flooding along Rancocas Creek in Southampton Township. The water rescue team was tasked with the retrieval of more than 25 people from the area.
Over the course of an operations period of 16 hours, the team safely rescued approximately 30 people, including a wheelchair-bound resident and several pets from flooded homes.
Township officials reported that the rescue team even made efforts to check on the well being of others who chose to stay inside their homes during the event as well as multiple other team members who conducted operations in Lumberton Township and Eastampton Township, too.
Officials said that team members also assisted multiple residents with water removal from their homes throughout the course of several days following the storms.
Burlington Township Mayor Brian Carlin said at the meeting that the group’s efforts to not only serve their township, but to assist in surrounding municipalities as well was worthy of recognition.
“We are recognizing [the Water Rescue Team] for their efforts for serving Burlington Township, but also going out into other communities and helping those communities in the storms of June 20,” Carlin said. “This group of volunteers came out and did what the people of Burlington Township do – they served the people of our community and selflessly went out into other communities, and worked well with them to make sure that the residents there had positive outcomes.”
Following Carlin’s remarks, he presented a Certificate of Recognition to the group of six volunteers in attendance at the meeting. The Burlington Township mayor explained that the group’s operations in June were representative of the municipality.
“Your selfless contributions and outstanding performance brought positive recognition to the Burlington Township Fire Department,” Carlin said. “If further demonstrates the spirit of cooperation that is the hallmark of the township’s relations with our neighboring communities.”
After the certificates were presented to the rescue team, the council members expressed their gratitude toward the group of individuals as well.
“The time you put into your training and the time away from your families is extraordinary on your part for the sacrifice you make,” councilman Carl Schoenborn said to the rescue team.
“The training that you put in for a volunteer position – you are putting the extra effort in to benefit, not only this town, but also the county,” councilman Michael Cantwell said. “We sit here at council and people might think that we take things for granted, but we don’t take our volunteers for granted. We understand they are an [integral] part of the township, and if we did not have them, the township would be in trouble.”
“The fact that you do what you do – the amount of work [you put in] for the training in your everyday lives – says a lot about who you are as people,” councilwoman Patricia Siboczy said.