Friday, June 06, 2008



On January 17th, my life and that of my family was put on hold. That morning I went to work, and then around 7:00 AM, I received a call of a fire at my house. Talking to my wife on the phone I checked with her to make sure everyone was out of the house. I have been a police officer serving the Borough of Union Beach for over 30 years, and believe me when you answer a call at your own residence it is quite emotionally distressing.

Things become very hectic, and you scramble to deal with all emotions and aspects of what do we do next. So now that after five months of moving twice, taking care of my family, and trying to rebuild, you take a moment to reflect.

You sit back and thank God that this happened in the morning and not at night when all were asleep. You’re grateful that the Fire Department drilled in your head to check your smoke detectors every year. You stop complaining about how this can happen, and be conscious of the fact even when this is occurring you look at your family and know they are all ok. You appreciate the long hours of training these firefighters put in, and their families for allowing them to serve, as you to look in awe people you know as neighbors instantly become professional emergency responders working to save everything that is dear in your heart.

My family and I would like to publicly thank the Union Beach emergency services, in particular, the men and women of the Union Beach Fire Department, the Union Beach EMS, the Union Beach Emergency Management, and the officers on my department. The professionalism accomplished on the scene might only be outdone by the compassion and sincerity they have all shown my family during this crisis, and the well wishes we still receive to this day. They truly make you realize that it is a privilege to work along side them, however, and more importantly, it is an honor to know them all and be able to count them as friends.

Chief Michael Kelly
Union Beach Police Department

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