Hopewell Council #7103
3rd Annual Shield Award - October 16, 2012
Sal DeForte's Restaurant; Ewing, N.J.

The 3rd Annual Shield Award was held on Tuesday, October 16th at Sal DeForte's Ristorante in Ewing.  The restaurant was once again packed for this special event!  Hopewell Council #7103 provides this recognition awards dinner to acknowledge our "hometown heroes" and their outstanding service to our community.  Click on the group photo above for more information and pictures.

(front row)  Msgr. James Innocenzi, Chaplain Hopewell Council #7103 Knights of Columbus;  Hopewell Township Police Officer Michael Toth; Janet Crum,  EMT Union Fire & Rescue Squad;  Kurt Pederson, Firefighter Union Fire & Rescue Squad; Bob Rushnak (kneeling), Past Grand Knight of Council #7103 & Chairman of the Shield event.
(back row)  Chief George Meyer, Hopewell Township Police Department; Chief Matt Martin, Chief of Emergency Services; Annmarie Soganic, Deputy Chief of EMT, Union  Fire & Rescue Squad; Chief Erick Burd, Union Fire Company & Rescue Squad; and Aaron Vurgason, Grand Knight, Council #7103.


Master of Ceremonies, Past Grand Knight & Shield Award Chairman Bob Rushnak

Union Fire & Rescue Squad Chief Erick Burd and EMT honoree Janet Crum

            Eric Burd, Chief of the Union Fire Company & Rescue told the story of a young nineteen year old woman who walked through the doors to join the Hopewell Union Fire and Rescue Squad.  Her name was Janet Crum and she would never look back. 

          Jan would spend the next forty years serving and caring for her community.  She quickly became an integral and lasting part of the rescue squad, as well as New Jersey’s emergency medical community.  In 1971 she would begin a span of thirty eight years where she was a line officer, ten of those years being a Squad Chief.

          From 1969 until 2009 Janet was one of the Top Ten Responders, an unpatrolled accomplishment.  Even more impressive was that she was a part of the duty crew for that entire time.

          Janet has been  an instructor for thirty eight years, training generation after generation of responders.  When the State decided to adopt the EMT certification, they knocked on Jan’s door and asked her to be a part of the transition task force.  Often, when new EMT textbooks were ready to be published, Jan would be sent copies from the publishers for her review and input.  She has also been a part of several critical incident stress debridement teams. 

Hopewell Township Police Chief George Meyer

Police Office honoree Michael Toth (Hopewell Township) with Chief Meyer

            Patrol Officer Michael Toth is a lifelong Hopewell Valley resident, whose family has had very strong ties with the community through many, many years of service to the Hopewell Fire Company.

           Michael is a 17 year member of the Hopewell Township Police Department.  He began his career as a dispatcher in 1995.  In January of 1997, following graduation from Burlington County Police Academy, Michael was promoted to patrol officer.

           Michael became a DARE instructor 14 years ago, and he continues to teach DARE at Hopewell Elementary School.  The connection he makes with his students has been very clear to Chief of Police George Meyer who attends every DARE graduation.  “His students are very excited to receive their diplomas and congratulations from him,” Reports Chief Meyer.

           Michael’s personnel file at the police department is crammed with letters of appreciation from citizens over the past years.  In addition to those letters, he has received several departmental commendations, including two lifesaving awards.

           Michael has been a member of the Hopewell Fire Department since 1985.  He served as its president from 1996 to 2003.  He still maintains both his firefighter and his emergency medical technician certifications.  Mike is also a Red Cross certified first aid instructor.

           Michael served his country in the United States Marine Corps from 1988 until 1995 when he was honorably discharged, holding the rank of sergeant.  During his time in the corps, Mike visited 32 countries including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and he saw action in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm.

Union Fire & Rescue Squad Chief Erick Burd and Firefighter honoree Kurt Pederson

        In 2008 Kurt Pedersen joined the Union Fire & Rescue Squad.  He was anything but a typical new recruit.  Instantly, Kurt became part of every aspect of the company like few others have.  “He was everywhere you looked” said Eric Burd, Chief of the Union Fire & Rescue company.  His work ethic, compassion, generosity and dedication to his fellow members and to his community are second to none.

          Kurt joined the fire police in 2008, became an EMT in 2010 and a firefighter in 2012.  Kurt’s energy and dedication was infectious, as well as remarkable.  When Chief Burd sees the engine pulling up to a fire scene, Kurt is one of the people he is hoping is on the truck.  Burd knows that no matter what they were called there for, Kurt’s resourcefulness and determination will carry them through that emergency.

          One of Kurt proudest days is when both he and his son Ryan graduated from “Firefighter One” class together.

          Kurt takes on the most thankless positions and performs the most difficult duties.  He does this with the most positive attitude and with the biggest smile you’ve ever seen coming from underneath that wonderful moustache.  In 2010, he became engineer - which is about the “King of Thankless Jobs.”  No one ever says, “Hey Kurt, thanks!  Or, the truck started and ran great…and by the way, all the lights worked and the new generator is just great.”  Kurt just takes it in stride and goes about his duties, getting prepared for the next emergency call.

Todd Kent,
Sep 27, 2012, 9:13 PM
Todd Kent,
Sep 27, 2012, 9:13 PM
Todd Kent,
Sep 27, 2012, 9:13 PM