92-year-old NJ volunteer firefighter honored in Wayne for 75 years of service

WAYNE, Passaic County (WABC) -- A 92-year-old New Jersey volunteer firefighter was honored with a proclamation from the township of Wayne on Monday for 75 years of service.

The firehouse in Wayne has been John Kooreman's second home for 60 years.

He's held just about every position from lieutenant to commissioner, and while Kooreman retired from the telephone company 30 years ago, he hasn't quit the fire department.

He started volunteering in 1959, but he actually became a volunteer firefighter long before that, in 1944. When the volunteer age was lowered to 18, he joined the Hawthorne Fire Department.

Kooreman and his son Scott, who is also a volunteer firefighter, have even fought fires together.

"It's something he still wants to do," Scott Kooreman said. "So as long as we can help him achieve that, then it's a small thing to pay back."

Instead of racing out to calls on trucks, John Kooreman is now riding trucks in parades.

While he does remember responding to calls, the memories of lost lives still haunt him to this day.

"One kid we lost, he was hiding," John Kooreman said. "He got behind a dresser, we couldn't see him...that's not good."

But it's all part of a long, brave career that isn't over, even at the age of 92.

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