Montgomery Township Firefighter Spotlight: The Feduns
By Mia Shou | April 13, 2022
On the surface, Matthew Fedun is a hunter, a woodworker, and a motorcycle enthusiast. Underneath, he is a firefighter for the Montgomery Township Volunteer Fire Company No. 1.
Fedun has 45 years of experience, and the newly-earned title of ‘president’ now under his belt. The family tradition of service started in 1939 with his grandfather, Peter Fedun, who was an original charter member of the company. Since that time, four generations of Feduns have served as firefighters.
Peter and William Fedun, father and son, in front of the Harlingen Garage in 1949. The Feduns own and operate the garage.
"Just like with any family," says Matthew Fedun, “we all help each other. The fire company also does something extraordinary: We help others on the worst days of their lives."
Rushing into rising flames or wading into flood waters can be extremely rewarding. “It’s a great feeling when you know you’ve made a difference in somebody’s life,” Matthew says.
Matthew Fedun of Belle Mead is a fourth-generation firefighter.
Matthew recounted at time in August, when Hurricane Ida flooded roads and turned them into rivers of foul-smelling water. In the midst of it all, a woman’s car was washed away into a clump of trees. She climbed out of the sunroof, into a tree, and began to scream for help. In the end, she waited for about three hours before the fire company arrived.
To show her gratitude for being rescued, the woman’s boyfriend and his father have enrolled with the company.
Thus, while the flood was indeed damaging, the new members and their stories are proof that in the most dire of situations, “a little bit of kindness and consideration go a long way.”
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Matthew’s contributions and experiences do not stop there. Back when he served in 1986, rescuing victims from car accidents was very difficult.
The tools were heavy and inefficient, and the rescue team had too few personnel to operate them. As a result, Matthew petitioned the Board of Fire Commissioners to purchase the Jaws of Life, which are versatile rescue tools that allow firefighters to more easily cut apart ruined cars.
When the request was rejected, Matthew and his wife Eve took it upon themselves to generate the funds.
Aided by donations from companies in Montgomery, they were able to raise $10,000 and purchase the Jaws in a single year. Thanks to this effort, a car can now be cut apart in a matter of minutes.
Now, as president, Matthew hopes “to see our fire company be a bigger part of the community.” For him, that means not only fulfilling its duty of arriving at calls, but being present for events, such as blood drives and interviews, to ensure that the community knows what the company is truly about, and how all members can make a difference. ■