On April 2, the Maplewood Township Committee honored Maplewood Fire Department Deputy Chief Walter Nugent for his 25 years of service upon his retirement and promoted Captain Brett Derewsky to the rank of Deputy Chief. In addition, Firefighter Ciro D’Urso was promoted to the rank of Captain. Both men were sworn in to their new positions with family, friends and seemingly every MFD firefighter present.
After Fire Chief Michael Dingelstedt read a resolution marking his retirement, Nugent — wearing street clothes and holding his young daughter’s hand — shook hands with the TC members and took to the microphone to offer some affecting words. Nugent noted how his daughter Brooke clicked the button to submit his retirement papers then “danced around the house.” Nugent said he was honored to make room for Derewsky and D’Urso to move up. “I was blessed to work with some of the most dedicated, talented firefighters in the country.” Nugent noted that the MFD performs both firefighting and emergency medical services and talked about a serious trauma incident handled with UMDNJ a few years ago after which UMDNJ medics called him to say that the MFD service was the “most professional” they had ever seen.
“It was an honor to work with all of you and I want to thank every member of the Maplewood Fire Department for a great career,” said Nugent.
Derewsky and D’Urso also made moving comments. Derewsky talked of the moment being one of the proudest for his father Stanley. D’Urso talked of being the son of an immigrant who was inspired to become a firefighter by the events of September 11, 2001, “when the towers came down and I watched the brave police officers, firefighters … rush to do their duty. I knew then I wasn’t meant to sit on the sidelines and watch.”
All acknowledged the danger of the job: Nugent spoke of the responsibility of bringing his firefighters home safe; D’Urso thanked his wife Denise — “his rock” — for her resolve and patience and asked the room to recognize “all the wives.”
D’Urso also cited former Chief Wayne Crowell Sr. for inspiring him, saying he told D’Urso to “ditch the suit and tie and get the greatest job in the world.”
Watch the promotions and speeches here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNsdad24rIg
Photos courtesy of the Maplewood FMBA Local #25: