On January 20, 2018 the Deer Park Fire Company Rehab 13 unit held its annual installation dinner at the Hong Kong Fusion Restaurant located on Route 70 near Old Orchard Road starting at 1800 hours.
The emcee for the evening was the newly appointed Station Chief Tim Kraft. Chief Kraft replaces the former Station Chief Larry Colacicco who decided to step down after 15 years as the unit commander. Chief Colacicco along with member William Kelly prepared the original proposal to the Cherry Hill Fire District and then Fire Chief Robert Giorgio to form the new Deer Park Fire Company rehab unit after the Cherry Hill Fire Department consolidated into one fire district, and transitioned to a fully career Fire and EMS Department to serve the citizens of Cherry Hill Township. The member credited with the original idea was made by former Fire Fighter Greg Discher back in 2003. Mr. Discher has been a member of Deer Park since 1986.
The Rehab unit went in service in 2004 and had their first run in Cherry Hill to the King of Pizza building fire at Cornell Avenue and Route 70. The first run out of town was to a house fire in Pennsauken to dwelling fire in 11-5’s local district. Since then Rehab 13 has responded to over 740 runs and 88 towns and municipalities in the South Jersey region including Camden, Burlington, Atlantic, Gloucester, and Salem counties.
Other members involved in the original planning were George Manley, Jim Arpino, Sr., Bill Scheufele, Ed Adams, Ed Auty, Jeff Cundiff, and Irv Wander. As time passed we went on a recruiting drive and were able to attract 11 new members of which 7 are still with us today.
Currently, we have 20 responding members and 5 contributing members to handle calls and special assignments that we provide service for each year.
Outgoing Station Chief Colacicco was presented a service award for his time and dedication in getting this project off the ground and running a successful emergency scene rehab unit that is second to none in the region. The outgoing Chief has stayed on as a responding member and will fill the role of administrative aid to the Chief to bring Chief Kraft up to speed with his new responsibilities.
A great time was had by all those that attended including fire Commissoner’s Robert Campagna, William McCargo, William Kelly, and Fire Chief Tom Kolbe.
The new year started with a busy January with 7 calls due to the extreme weather a record for January for Rehab 13.