To this day, his 93 year old mother still tells a story of him chasing the firetrucks down the road as a kid. So yes, becoming a firefighter – and catching the truck – was something Joe Bakey has always wanted to do. Now, he gets to drive the truck.
At age 53, Joe was recruited by Firefighters, Lawrence Moore and Peter Sarkos, who were both incredibly passionate about being part of the Harmony team. While Joe didn’t have any prior experience, helping and protecting others had been a constant in his life. Just ask any of his 3 children – their Dad is good at “crisis mode”.
Thanks to the support of his wife and family, Joe joined the Harmony Fire Company. A few short months later, he found himself at the Fire Academy with Kevin Bosch and his son Brian. With the right training, Joe knew he could take on this new role. What was not apparent upfront that Joe quickly learned is that the academy was no easy task.
I joined because my family lives here. My friends live here. This is my community. In today’s world, when something bad happens, peoples’ first thought is to call the fire department. We are first responders. From rescuing pets in distress, to responding to car accidents, and of course home and commercial fires. We’re there when people need us.
– Joe Bakey, Firefighter, Harmony Fire Company
Not only was it taxing with regard to its mental challenges and new skill requirements, but the firefighter training was also one of the most physically demanding experiences of his life. This rigorous training provided Joe both an immediate benefit of getting in shape, but also gave him the discipline and mindset to stay physically healthy and fit so he can take on the toughest of situations.
Joe always tells his kids the old axiom “knowledge is power” and that’s one thing he loves about the station. Harmony Fire Company continues to offer a multitude of training to better our local firefighters. In fact, Joe was able to receive specialized training and joined the Gloucester County Technical Rescue Team and the Search and Rescue Team.
Being a firefighter in Mullica Hill has become Joe’s number one passion outside of his day job. While it has come with challenges, the experience has instilled in Joe a lifelong lesson: you can overcome any obstacle with the right support.
Why did you join?
“I joined because my family lives here. My friends live here. This is my community. In today’s world, when something bad happens, peoples’ first thought is to call the fire department. We are first responders. From rescuing pets in distress, to responding to car accidents, and of course home and commercial fires. We’re there when people need us.”
What is the best part of being a volunteer firefighter?
“At 2 AM, when a family has a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm go off, they can rely on us to assist and help them through those scary nights. I can sleep at night knowing that I have given my best and have helped someone in their time of need.”
The Harrison Township Fire District #1 is made up of Harmony and Ewan Fire Company’s. Both fire companies meet or drill on Tuesday nights starting at 1900 hours. If you are interested in joining and supporting your community , please stop by either firehouse on Tuesday nights.
Harmony Fire Company
4 South Main Street
Mullica Hill, New Jersey
Ewan Fire Company
312 Ewan Road
Mullica Hill, New Jersey