The Springfield First Aid Squad celebrates its 75th year

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SPRINGFIELD, NJ — The Springfield First Aid Squad recently celebrated its 75th year of service to the community. The celebration was in front of the First Aid Squad location at 10 N. Trivett Ave. There was food and refreshments, games, activities, ambulance tours and a DJ.

“Not many squads reach a milestone of 75 years,” said Elizabeh J. Fritzen, president of the Springfield First Aid Squad.

Fritzen explained that the squad started up in 1949 with a vision, 11 members and an ambulance. “We didn’t have a building yet,” she said. “For six years, we operated out of different members’ homes. Eleven conscientious residents in town wanted to provide emergency care. In 1949, the squad answered around 120 calls. Seventy-five years later, 2,200 calls per year.”

The proud, 50-year member joined the Springfield First Aid squad when she was in high school. Her mother was a member for 60 years before her death and her father was a member for 35 years before his death.

“These are dedicated people,” Fritzen said. “We encourage people to join our ranks. We take members at 16 years old. They’re our future, one common goal of taking care of their fellow man.”

Fritzen has been president of the Springfield First Aid Squad for more than 20 years.

Oksana Young was at the celebration with her 4-year-old son, Matthew. “It’s awesome,” she said. “It’s a great group of people; nice to see the town get together.”

Sgt. Tim O’ Grady of the Union County Sheriff’s Office was making emergency I.D. cards of children for their parents, free of charge. Photos for the I.D. cards were taken on the spot and contained all relative information on the child.

Lisa Papa, a volunteer for Home for Good Dog Rescue Inc., in Berkeley Heights, had two dogs with her. Blake and Toby are three-month-old puppies that were rescued out of a kill shelter. “They all find their forever home eventually,” she said. “We couldn’t do what we do without volunteers and fosters.”

Avellino’s, run by Antonio Porciello, offers pizza made in a woodfire brick oven. Antonio’s daughter, Ava Porciello, said, “All homemade, no eggs in the dough, fresh ingredients, everything imported from Italy including gelato.” They also offer gluten-free pies.

Rosie’s Empanadas had a variety of empanadas to offer, including a vegan one made of corn, spinach, rice and beans. They’ve been in business for 10 years.

Other food trucks at the event included Mister Softee and Double Back N Taste It.

DJ James Patania from DJ Music Unlimited was playing a variety of hit tunes, including “Higher Love,” “Vehicle,” “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Love Shack.”

To learn more about the Springfield First Aid Squad, visit:

Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta