Cadet Program Helps Attract New Firefighters

By PETE WALTON

Neptune City fire cadets Ryan C. Maher and Joseph R. “Joey” Adams were presented this week with the annual Terry Morcom Memorial Cadet Grant.

The two young men are the latest recipients of the grant, which was established in memory of former Neptune City fire chief Terrance W. Morcom, who died of cancer in 2013 while still on active duty in the department.

“The purpose of the Terry Morcom Memorial Cadet Grant is to recognize young men and women who have given of themselves and of their time to the Neptune City Fire Department cadet program,” said Lawrence M. Sauer, a former chief who coordinates the grant program with the Morcom family on behalf of the department. “Just like Terry, recipients exemplify the commitment to duty as well as appreciate the joy of comradeship that being a member of the NCFD offers.”

Fire officials say the cadet program is a valuable tool in the ongoing challenge to attract potential volunteer firefighters.

Grant recipients must be cadets in good standing with the department and graduating high school seniors. Applicants must have a letter of recommendation from a member of the department.

Andrea Morcom Bast presented the grants to the two cadets in a ceremony at the fire department Monday evening. She and siblings Kim and Craig set up the grant program to honor their father.

Ryan Maher is the younger brother of 2014 grant recipient Richard T. Maher, who is now a professional firefighter in Asbury Park and assistant chief in Neptune City. Ryan will attend the University of Northwestern Ohio in the fall. His mother, Sheila, was an active member of the department’s Ladies Auxiliary until her untimely passing.

“Ryan is and continues to be an active cadet member despite the personal challenges his family endured the last few years,” Sauer said.

Joey Adams will attend Brookdale Community College and plans a career in fire service or law enforcement. He will soon attend the Monmouth County Fire Academy, according to 2007 borough fire chief Brian J. McGrath.

“Joey is always there to help out on a call or at the fire house,” McGrath said. “He wants to be there to help anyone in need. The tone goes off, he knows that assistance is needed, so he goes.”

Six cadets are currently serving in the Neptune City Fire Cadet program, according to veteran firefighter Bob Reynolds.

“The cadets meet weekly on Wednesday nights,” Reynolds said. “All our line officers and a committee work with them. They go to our monthly drills with us.”

“We treat them as firefighters, as part of the company,” Sauer added.

Reynolds said that cadets are not placed in harm’s way and do not ride on the initial trucks responding to emergency calls.

“They can run on the last truck that goes to the scene, and they can help with hose or whatever we need help with,” Reynolds said. “They help out with fire prevention week by going to the school, dressing in fire gear and introducing themselves to the students.”

Sauer said the cadets also participate in town events such as parades.

Reynolds said the cadet program is a valuable tool in the ongoing challenge to attract potential volunteer firefighters.

Jeffrey Loesch and Ryan Oppegaard were the recipients of Morcom grants in 2017 and 2018, respectively. This is the first year that two cadets have been awarded grants of $2,000 each. An additional $500 is granted to the cadet program in the recipient’s name.

Terry Morcom, a Pennsylvania native, moved to Neptune City at the age of 24 in 1968. He became a member of the fire department, United Fire Company No. 1, soon thereafter and served as chief in 1983. He was also a member and past president of the fire company’s Relief Association and the Exempt Association, in which he served as secretary for more than 25 years. His wife Barbara, who died in 2014, worked as a microbiologist at Bellevue Medical Center in New York before raising her children. She was also a member of the fire department’s auxiliary.

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