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 of IV features Mary Jane Chipowsky — From Leading a Local Middle School To Aiding Firefighters through Local, County, and State Ladies Auxiliaries.
Part III of IV: From Leading a Local Middle School To Aiding Firefighters through Local, County, and State Ladies Auxiliaries
Mary Jane Chipowsky, 68, was working with her husband, Mike, at Hopewell Valley’s 9/11 Memorial Ceremony when the members of the Pennington Fire Company Ladies’ Auxiliary first impressed her.
“They were bringing desserts for after the ceremony, and they were just so helpful,” remembered Chipowsky, whose husband belongs to Union Fire Company & Rescue Squad, and is now Chairman of the Hopewell Township Board of Fire Commissioners. She had retired from her job as principal of a Riverside middle school several years earlier, and had time to give.
“I said, ‘You know, I really think I should join. I really need to pay back the firefighters for everything you do for the community.’” she shared.
Ladies Auxiliaries of all the Hopewell Valley fire houses run special events and sales to to purchase items the fire companies could otherwise not afford. They also directly support firefighters and EMTs who are on a scene for many hours or are hunkered down at the station when a hurricane or winter storm is forecast. Pennington’s Ladies Auxiliary has purchased a tent that creates a resting area at fire scenes and a water sprayer that helps firefighters stay cool.
“During the hurricane, we went to the firehouse and made food so that the people who were out pumping basements and such could have something there waiting for them,” she shared.
Chipowsky has since also joined the ladies auxiliary at Union Fire Company & Rescue Squad and is now the president of the Mercer County Firemen’s Association Ladies Auxiliary and the treasure of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Firemen of the State of New Jersey.
“I’m not putting out fires or saving somebody from a flood or cleaning out water in a basement, but I am doing whatever I can to assist the people who do,” she said. “It makes you feel really good.”
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 www.ProtectHopewellValley.com and click on “volunteer,” or call Hopewell Valley Chief of Emergency Services Matthew Martin at 609-537-0287.