Herb Caravella turns down the volume on his radio scanner and sinks into an office chair at a table in Aberdeen Township Hose and Chemical Company No. 2.
"Man, I am tired," Caravella admits, as he closes his eyes for a brief moment. "When you sit back and think of what you are doing, it's crazy."
The alumnus, who now lives in Marlboro, joined the Aberdeen Township Hose and Chemical Company No. 1 when he was 18, in order to help his community and "stay out of trouble," he said.
Now, thirty seven years later, he has served as an engineer, a lieutenant and a captain for the fire department and works for Aberdeen Township in the Department of Works.
When Caravella isn't assisting the fire department or working for the township, he volunteers his time as the Office of Emergency Management Communications Coordinator and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordinator. He recently to create a joint Matawan and Aberdeen CERT team and helps maintain radio communications for local first aid and fire departments. He also volunteers as an amateur radio operator for Middletown's and Monmouth County's Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) and with Middletown Police Field Communications as a member of the Field Communications Unit.
"After 37 years of service, the most rewarding moment was two years ago we got called to Matawan Borough for an extrication call. On a cold day after a snow storm, a lady was pinned in the car and we extricated her out. On a backboard she opened her eyes and said, "Thank you, men,"" Caravella said when asked why he volunteers.
A single father of three, Caravella is happy to have had all three of his sons participate in the Police Explorers, a program that allows young people to experience law enforcement careers hands on.
Spending so much time volunteering can be exhausting, but Caravella finds the sense of community worth it.
"I have seen a lot of tragedy, but you need to focus on what you are there for, which is to help and aid the people and be the true professionals we are," Caravella said. "We are all one big family."