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Rutherford Fire Department Receives CARE Act Grants

By Jennifer Ersalesi

Photos from the Rutherford Fire Department Facebook page

The Rutherford Fire Department recently received two emergency CARE Act grants from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Co-Chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) recently announced the recipients of these grants, both the Rutherford and Leonia Fire Departments.

First Assistant Chief, Tom Twist III, explained that he worked with John Melfa, who is the Equipment Officer and Jacqueline Caroprese, Department Data Entry, to gather the information needed to apply for the grant. The information was then submitted to the Borough grant writer who wrote and submitted the grant.

The Rutherford Fire Department will receive $4,782.46 to pay for necessary PPE equipment and to be reimbursed for the PPE supplies purchased since the start of the pandemic. The grant monies were provided through the CARES Act Assistance to Firefighters- COVID-19 Supplemental (AFG-S) grant program.

Current Chief of the Fire Department, Rob VanWinkle, Deputy Chief, Dennis Gentile, and First Assistant Chief, Tom Twist III are all very pleased to have received these grants. Tom Twist III, told TIR, “In the 27 years that I have been part of the Fire Department, we have not received many grants and I was pleasantly surprised that we received this one.” The Rutherford Fire Department applies for grants often in hopes to receive financial assistance so that they are better able to assist the residents of Rutherford. Twist told TIR, "Grant money is very helpful to any organization that relies on a budget that is established early in the year. It can help purchase additional necessary equipment and in some cases help with the training of our members."

Rep. Pascrell was responsible for the Firefighter Investment and Response Enhancement (FIRE) Act, which was signed into law in 2000 by Presidents Bill Clinton, which provides annual funding for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. The AFG program, administered by the DHS' Federal Emergency Management Agency, assists eligible fire departments by providing them with what they need to best perform their duties and keep their departments and communities safe.

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