The Deptford fire department won multiple awards on Sept. 16, when it participated in the New Jersey State Firemen’s Relief Association’s (NJSFRA) annual convention in Wildwood.
The annual convention – held with the Fireman’s Memorial Parade – featured delegates from departments across the state to honor and celebrate the work of firefighters. All seven of the township’s fire stations took part: Blackwood Terrace, Almonesson Lake, Oak Valley, Tacoma, Lake Tract, Helping Hand and New Sharon.
The parade portion of the event featured firefighters marching in dress uniforms and showing off engines and apparatus to judges and bystanders. The Deptford Fire Cadets also participated and carried a banner and the department honored late Almonesson Lake firefighter Jeff Pfeiffer, who died earlier this year in the line of duty.
Deptford took home the convention’s top prize, the President’s Cup, also known as the Best Appearing Overall Fire Department Marching and Apparatus.
“Starting in July, we put in hours and hours of hard work to get apparatus ready and practice marching in the parade,” said department Battalion Chief Rick Thomas. “With direct support from the Deptford Board of Fire Commissioners, we are able to put time and effort into maintaining fire apparatus and equipment, resulting in awards.”
The department won a total of 16 awards that were based on its parade performance and presentation, including the best appearing Gloucester County apparatus, Brush Truck 925; best appearing Fire Explorer Post; first place for best appearing command vehicle, Command 930; second place for best appearing marching color guard; best appearing antique (60s’ era) to Almonesson Lake Fire Company; and best appearing to Brush Truck 925.
After the parade, many of the firefighters who attended spent time partying and celebrating their success at the shore town’s boardwalk and its many attractions.
“It was amazing,” gushed Megan Leigh of the Blackwood Terrace station. “It’s a good time for everyone to be together and share our pride. We won many awards. We took the time to clean our truck and came in second; 932 came in first. We all marched and won best in the state.”