On Parade

29 June, 1990 (~estimated)

On Parade

Princeton firemen honored for service

By Patti Wieser
Staff Writer

Recalling bits of his 40 years as a volunteer firefighter in Princeton, Robert H. Silvester noted a current need for recruits — a want not known when he was ready to sign up.

“I had to wait to get in,” said Mr. Silvester, a Hook and Ladder Co. member who was among the firemen honored Friday evening following the Princeton Firemen’s Annual Inspection Parade down Nassau Street.

The parade, which featured mem-bers from the Mercer Engine Company No. 3, Princeton Engine Company No. 1 and the Princeton Hook and Ladder — the three fire companies that make up the Princeton Fire Department — snaked its way down Princeton’s main thoroughfare to Borough Hall, beginning at Chestnut Street. Among the marchers were the Princeton First Aid Squad, Ladies Auxiliary marching units and three bands, including the Colonial Musketeers Fife and Drum Corps, of Hackettstown.

As the parade approached the strip pi sidewalk off Nassau Street staked out by 5-year-old Princeton resident Andrew L’Huillier, the youngster began marching in place along to the music with an anticipatory look on his face.

Does he want to be a fireman when he grows up?

“Maybe, maybe not,” said Andrew.

Many of the spectators, in a show of encouragement, waved and called out to their acquaintances striding down Nassau.

“We’ve had too many fires here this year and they need our support,” said Princetonian Irene Wynne.

Added fellow Princeton resident Paul Hartnett, “I think it’s one’s duty to come out and support.”

Among borough and township officials on hand during the awards presentation was Borough Mayor Barbara Sigmund. who noted how the local firefighters helped quell the big fire in February that destroyed the American Diner on Nassau Street.

“You’re willing to face the unknown at any time,” the mayor told them.

Appreciation awards went to . Mr. Silvester for four decades of service, Jack Rhubart of Hook and Ladder for 35 years, and John F. Petrone and Nomi Servis, both of Engine Co. No. 1, for 30 years each. In addition, Henry Tamasi was given the Judges Award for the best appearing engine — Engine 625 from Hook and Ladder.

The honorees spoke of the sophistication of their equipment over the decades and remembered a few blazes the Princeton have suffered. “One of the wont fires was the university (Princeton) gymnasium —1945,” said Mr. Petrone, who was in the auxiliary then.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, officials from both municipalities looked over the department’s equipment. The first firemen’s inspection by the governing body was requested by Foe Chief John J. Stryker on July 5, 1884, in front of Mercer Hall on Nassau. Street, according to Fire Chief Eric Karch in a press release. He said the fire department then showed off some of its newest equipment, including a canvas jacket, a rubber hose and an 1883 Ramsey and Company horse-drawn ladder truck.

As participants in Friday’s event dispersed, Annelise Didierlean, who was among a group of Colmar residents visiting Princeton, said cif the parade, “I didn’t know that in the states you had a tradition like this. In Alsace … people are fond of this kind of ceremony,”.

Bucky Cupples of Engine Company No.1 salutes during the National Anthem following the parade.

[Above], Chief Eric Karch marches down Nassau Street during the Firemen’s Inspection Parade; above, 2 1/2-year-old Brett Harper, with mom, Cindy Harper of West Windsor, waves as the fire trucks pass.




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