I grew up in Morris County with my parents and younger sister. I went to Susquehanna University and upon graduation returned to my hometown where I joined the volunteer fire department and thus embarked on my commitment to helping my community. I was an active firefighter for 10 years as well as being an EMT for 20 years. I always wanted to have a career as a firefighter or police officer and Mahwah was the first opportunity I had to follow my dreams. I got started in my career a little late (I was 29 in the academy while most guys were in the early to mid twenties) but I think that gave me some valuable life experience that has served me well in my career. I have another 3 years to go before I retire, I’m not sure what I will do once I retire, but I know this, I won’t be sitting in a rocking chair watching a sunset! Let’s see what the future holds.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your family.
I have been married to my wife JoAnn and best friend, aka “my lobster,” for 17 1/2 years. We have two incredible children – Emma who is a sophomore at MHS and Brady who is in eight grade at Ramapo Ridge.
Q: Please tell us about your current career. What do you love most about what you do?
I have dedicated almost my entire adult life to protecting the communities I live and work in. It is an honor and privilege to not only be able to help my friends and neighbors, as well as complete strangers, but also to be able to develop relationships with people and see them after some of their darkest days.
Q: How long have you lived or worked in our community?
Just this month I celebrated my 22nd anniversary working for the Mahwah police department and I have been a resident for almost 18 years. Prior to that I was in Morris County. I never planned on living in Mahwah, initially I worked here and then ended up living here, and having kids, and this just became home. I didn’t intend to work and live in the same town, because that can become complicated. It was definitely challenging to do that in the beginning but for most part it all works out ok in the end.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in our community?
It so hard to say because I meet so many interesting people everyday! But the person who stands out the most for me is Christy Varrato, she is a nurse and during the covid shutdown, she came onto Facebook and started supporting anyone who needed it. She literally just put herself out there for anyone she could help in anyway. She genuinely just wants to help her community, which is such a beautiful thing. And because of that she and I just formed a great bond! She is one of my best friends and I’m grateful for her. I remember one time she had a patient in the hospital and they were trying to get authorization for the patients son to go visit her in the hospital. So on her day off the son called her and said, I got authorization to go visit my mom in the hospital, but I don’t want to go alone, can you come with me – and what does she do? She dropped everything and went to the hospital to be there for her patient and the son. Just an incredible human being!
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
Fiji!!! It’s warm, it’s sunny, I love the water, it’s far from the insanity of the rest of the world and hopefully the huts on the water don’t have cable or internet so I can completely disconnect!
Q: What is one of your favorite movies? TV shows?
Elf – because I think all adults need to be reminded of the magic of being a kid; I like reality TV because it’s not stage. I’m too critical of police and firefighter dramas!
Q: What advice would you give to people?
As bad as you think things are, they can (almost) always be worse. Start working on fixing/improving the situation.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
Scuba dive in Indonesia
Q: What is your go to band when you cant decide what to listen to?
Q: What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about our community?
Janek’s – This is one of those places that hasn’t changed a bit over the years. If you look at any old phots printed in anything of that view on 202 you will see Janek’s there, looking the same as it did years ago! Its a place that is simple and very familiar. I have been going there for years and every time I’ve gone, it’s the same, nothing changes, and I like that about it.
Q: If you could choose anyone that is alive today and not a relative; with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? And where locally would y’all meet for this lunch?
So I know you want me to speak about someone who is alive but there is a couple I met a long time ago who have since passed and I would love to see them both again. Sandy and Newt Parks, everyone in town knew them. Mrs. Parks as they called her worked at the Mahwah High School. I had the privilege of getting to know Sandy and Newt so well, Newt was like my grandfather and I really enjoyed our conversation. I would love to meet them again, and I would love to go to one of the lookouts in Ramapo Reservation because the views of our town are magnificent and it is so serene. Sandy and Newt are dearly missed, they were one of the gems of this wonderful community.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about our community?
We are big town with a small town feel, especially when someone experiences a tragedy or needs assistance.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
Retired and living in the Carolinas near the beach.
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I attended Officer Candidate School for the United Stated Marine Corps during the summer between my junior and senior year of college.
Q: What is the most beautiful place you have ever been?
Toss up… Germany or Ireland
Q: Favorite month? favorite holiday? and best single day on the calendar?
July – I love summer, the 4th of July and my anniversary!
Q: What would you rate a 10 out of 10?
My love for my family and friends
Q: Who inspires you to be better?
My children. I want to set the best example for them and for them to always be proud of me!
Q: What is one or two of your favorite smells?
Flowers and the ocean.
Q: Finally, what 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
Safety, Comfort, Love