Union Fire Company & Rescue Squad Junior Firefighter Michael Manning’s academic accomplishments were recognized at the Timberlane Middle School graduation ceremony last month, where he received the Timberwolf Award for most improved student.

When presenting Michael with the award, which honors the student who has improved the most over the three years of middle school, Michael’s guidance counselor credited his hard work and the support of his family, teachers, and counselors. Credit was also given to Michael’s role at the fire company and his future plans to work in public safety.

When asked how UFCRS has contributed to his accomplishment, Michael noted that maintaining good grades is one of the junior firefighter requirements.  “This helped to keep the pressure on me because I didn’t want to ruin what I have been waiting for since the first grade,” he said.

Being a junior firefighter has also taught him about responsibility and planning. “Making sure I was up to date with what I needed to bring with me for a safe drill also brought me to realize that I needed to be on top of school work like projects, homework, and studying,” Michael explained.

Michael’s Timberlane classmates cheered when he received the award.  His firehouse family is proud, too.

Since joining UFCRS, Michael “has shown a significant interest in learning the operational aspects of the company,” said UFCRS Capt. Michael J. Beninato Sr., the youth team advisor.  “He is constantly asking questions and seems to really want to get into things to get his hands dirty.”

Interested in learning how you can volunteer with one of the Hopewell Valley’s fire departments, emergency medical units or our first aid squad? Visit our website,, to learn about the many opportunities for young people and adults.

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Binghamton and a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, creative endeavors, and photographing mushrooms. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), holds a seat on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, and is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance.


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