Elizabeth Rotary names Fireman and EMT of the Year

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ELIZABETH, NJ — The Rotary Club of Elizabeth named Elizabeth Fire Department Capt. Sean Wasacz its 2021 Fireman of the Year and Elizabeth EMT supervisor Jason Hamilton its EMT of the Year during a recent meeting at the Garden Restaurant in Union.

Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage said, “Our city’s emergency services are recognized throughout the state for the excellent work they do — and these two honorees are the best of the best.”

Elizabeth Rotary Club President Kenneth Richuso agreed and stated that Wasacz and Hamilton “exemplify perfectly Rotary’s theme of ‘service above self.’ Our club and our community are very proud of these two professionals.”

Elizabeth Fire Department Chief Donald Peterson told the gathering of an incident last October on the New Jersey Turnpike where Wasacz was the first on the scene of an accident involving an overturned tractor trailer. After calling 9-1-1 and requesting emergency medical assistance, he used a crowbar to pry the cab open and free the driver, who had been crushed behind the wheel. The driver was taken to University Hospital, where he recovered. “It is my opinion that Capt. Wasacz went above and beyond the call of duty and played an integral part in the rescue of this driver,” said Peterson. In addition to the Rotary recognition, Wasacz received his 25-year pin from the EFD.

Peterson also lauded the selection of Jason Hamilton as Elizabeth Rotary’s EMT of the Year. “Supervisor Hamilton is a dedicated professional whose expertise has improved the health of our firefighters and our residents,” he explained. Hamilton has served the Elizabeth EMS Division since 1997. He is a certified instructor for EMT certification, CPR, Hazardous Materials and Right To Know Awareness, and is the designated Fire Department point of contact for training and monitoring of the COVID-19 virus.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Richuso noted that Peterson was Elizabeth Rotary’s selection of Fireman of the Year in 1998. “Our club has a long history of highlighting our city’s outstanding civil servants,” Richuso said.

Founded in 1917, the Rotary Club of Elizabeth comprises 40 business and professional leaders who work locally to further the ideals of Rotary International, a worldwide service organization. The club’s record of service to the community includes giving $43,000 in scholarships this year alone to deserving high school graduates through the Albert & Louise Davis Scholarship Fund. Since 1986, the club has awarded $680,000 in Davis Scholarship awards. Another club project involves giving dictionaries to third-grade students in Elizabeth, Hillside and Linden. To date, more than 27,000 dictionaries have been distributed.

Rotary International’s 1 million members provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build good will and peace. For information about becoming a member of the Rotary Club of Elizabeth, visit www.elizabethrotary.org.

Photos Courtesy of Douglas Harris