February 2, 2020
By: Dennis Symons, Jr.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)—Today at St. Vincent de Paul Parish a Change of Command Ceremony was held for the Hamilton Township Fire Department. The command change is resulting from Fire Chief Mark Antozzeski retiring on January 31, 2020. Fire Captain Arron Heller has been promoted to Fire Chief and an official command ceremony was held.
Retiring Chief Antozzeski thanked his family for love, understanding and support. Thanked Mayor Martin and council for looking out for his troops during the upcoming merger. He thanked commissioners, firefighters, officers and chiefs for support and friendships his 28 ½ year journey. Chief Antozzeski said, “Its really not work when you love what you do.”
To the firefighters of District 9, this really is a family here, I been able to see young firefighters, join, get married, start a family, watch their kids grow up. Watched other firefighters get older, retire and enjoy their selves. We always have been there for each other and very proud of this family. The chief joked that we have hired young firefighters that were not even born yet when he started in 1991, and that makes him feel old. It was an honor and privilege to serve Hamilton Township and proud to work with such great officers and firefighters. Here at District 9 we have accomplished many great things together, provide outstanding service to our community, protect each other and our fellow firefighters, and help our citizens on the worst day of their lives.
The Chief asked that you continue to be humble, dedicated, public servants, for we have the greatest occupation in the world putting others before ourselves.
Chief Antozzeski received a standing ovation.
The official change of command ceremony was held using a white fire chief helmet and passed the formal change of command from Chief Antozzeski to newly promoted Fire Chief Arron Heller. The firefighters from Hamilton Township Fire Department came forward and stood at attention while the changing of the command commenced.
Newly appointed Fire Chief Arron Heller’s remarks:
Chief Heller said during his speech “I am truly honored to be the next career fire chief of Fire District #9, I consider it a blessing to serve Hamilton Township, and more importantly it is my absolute privilege to serve with and for the firefighters and officers of the Township of Hamilton.”
Chief Heller thanked friends, family members, firefighters, and several chiefs for getting him to where he is today.
Chief Heller touched on the Hamilton Township Fire District Consolidation and unwavering dedication from FMBA Locals 84 and 284 and with the vision of Mayor Martin and council the consolidated fire department is on its way and Chief Heller is really thrilled to have a leadership roll in it. Chef Heller thanked Mayor Martin for having the faith in the fire department for us to do this the right way, and Chief Heller said it was truly appreciated.
Chief Heller said, “To the firefighters of Fire District # 9 and their families I humbly stand before you knowing I have the privilege to serve as your fire chief. The firefighters of Hamilton Township are some of the finest hard chargers in the State of NJ and would put you up against anybody out there. The chief said he is excited to get to work tomorrow morning and has a staff meeting at 8 am the day after the Super Bowl.”
Chief Heller said, “To our families and your families there is nothing I take more seriously than my responsibility to do everything in my power to bring our firefighters home each shift. I believe this is the most sobering reality a fire officer must constantly face; you have my word”
If you are a fire chief or any other person, I believe you owe it to yourself and society to be all you can to be better than you were the day before.