New Volunteer Program Matches Hopewell Valley Baby Boomers with Fire, EMS Units (Part 4 of 4)

John Novak, a Hopewell Fire Department & Emergency Medical Unit volunteer and training officer and former chief, with his son Joe Novak, Hopewell Fire's current chief, and grandson Landon. (Photo courtesy of the Novak family)
About this series: Hopewell Valley Senior Services has launched a new volunteer recruitment program linking Baby Boomers with the Valley’s volunteer fire companies and first aid squad.  Part I  introduced readers to the program.  Part II featured Pennington First Aid Squad volunteer Diane C.A. Snyder, a former CIA officer who serves as an EMT. Part III told the volunteer story of Mary Jane Chipowsky, a former middle school principal who belongs to the ladies auxiliaries of both Union Fire Company and Pennington Fire Company and is president of the Mercer County Firemen’s Association Ladies Auxiliary and treasure of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Firemen of the State of New Jersey.

Part IV of IV: Boomers in the Fire House

Baby Boomers who join a Hopewell Valley fire company will find themselves among many peers, including Ted Warwick, assistant chief at Pennington Fire Company, and John Novak Sr., firefighter, training officer, and former chief at Hopewell Fire Department.

Both have been active firemen for many years and continue to love it.

“It feels like I’m helping the community,” Novak, 67, said.

“Knowing that you have helped somebody – it’s a hard feeling to describe,” shared Warwick, 65.

Regardless of age and physical ability, not everyone is up to running into a burning building, even with training and safety equipment, Novak and Warwick agree, but there is a way for everyone to contribute at a firehouse. Ambulance and firetruck drivers are needed, and so are fire police, who help direct traffic and control fire and accident scenes, Warwick said. People are needed to serve on the business side, doing the administrative work that keeps the fire company running. And they are needed to run fundraising events, such as the pancake breakfasts that are huge community events in Pennington, Hopewell, and Titusville, where Union Fire Company is based.

No fire or EMS unit can run without these non-emergency functions, Novak shared, and it is extremely beneficial for a company to have members who exclusively concentrate on non-emergency functions, because that means the burden does not rest squarely on the shoulders of firefighters and EMTs, who in addition to emergency response, spend much time training.

“If you want to be a part of it, we have a role for you,” said Warwick.


Attention Baby Boomers! Ready for Your Next Adventure?

Boomers, or those of any age interested in volunteering with a Hopewell Valley fire or EMS unit, should visit and click on “volunteer,” or call Hopewell Valley Chief of Emergency Services Matthew Martin at 609-537-0287.

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