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January 15, 2014


Fire Chief is Lauded for 38 Years of Dedicated Service to Residents

Chief Jeffrey Markey (front, center), former Fire Chief of the Fire Department of South Orange Village, was honored during the Freeholder Board’s January 15th meeting at the Hall of Records.  He is pictured above with: Front Row (left to right), Freeholder President Blonnie Watson, Freeholder Vice President Patricia Sebold, Freeholder Carol Clark, his wife, Janice Markey and Freeholder Brendan Gill. Back Row (left to right), Freeholder Gerald Owens and Freeholder Leonard Luciano.   PHOTO BY GLEN FRIESON

(Newark, NJ) – The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders honored Jeffrey M. Markey on his recent retirement as Fire Chief to the Village of South Orange’s Fire Department during its Wednesday, January 15th meeting, held at the Hall of Records. He was presented the Board’s Commendation for over 38 years of dedicated and outstanding service by Freeholders Patricia Sebold, Vice President of the Board from Livingston, Blonnie Watson, President of the Board from Newark, Carol Clark from East Orange and Gerald Owens from South Orange.

After sharing in the recent Seton Hall Annual Legislative Open House Reception, where Chief Markey was recognized, the Freeholders were compelled to extend acknowledgement for his outstanding dedicated service. Freeholder Vice President Sebold led the accolades by congratulating him for a wonderful career in public safety and wished him many positive years of enjoyment during his retirement.  While Freeholder President Watson, confirmed that the Village of South Orange and ultimately the County of Essex, is all the better because of his years of service to the residents; Freeholder Owens, a South Orange Village resident, was able to bring lighthearted laughter to the event by the fact that he gratefully never had the need to call him to his home professionally.  Even though, he was confident if he had, the response would have been immediate and efficient. And finally, Freeholder Clark, while presenting the Board’s Commendation, admonished the audience to “take a good look” and to “be grateful that we fund our first responders”.  She described Chief Markey and other first responders as those who “run toward danger, when most people are running away”.  She referenced The Fireman’s Prayer as a must read for all that will bring tears to your eyes.

Chief Jeffrey M. Markey has an extensive career in public safety that began when he joined the South Orange Village Fire Department as a Firefighter in 1975.  He quickly excelled through the ranks of the department and was ultimately promoted to Chief of the Department where he served for 15 years until his recent retirement last December. 

Chief Markey has served in many leadership capacities including: Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator for South Orange, the Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association Local #40, the Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association Local #240, the New Jersey Fire Academy, the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety and the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.  Additionally, he holds membership in the Essex County Fire Chiefs Association; the New Jersey Career Fire Chiefs Association; the Essex County Fire Prevention Association; the National Fire Protection Association and the International Code Council, to name a few.  Furthermore, he is a member to the Hall of Fame for The Bell & Siren Club of Essex County.

While serving as the Student Housing and Residence Fire Safety Expert and Student Housing Fire Safety Instructor at Seton Hall University, Chief Markey demonstrated his professionalism, knowledge and skills. He is an advocate of mandatory sprinklers in all college dormitories, and to his acclaim, this safety precaution is now law. Additionally, he fought for spousal and dependent benefits for the families of firefighters killed in the line of duty, and he is credited with securing more than $1.3 million in grants during his time as Fire Chief.

In his acceptance comments, Chief Markey thanked the Board of Chosen Freeholders for the honor and stated, “It has been my pleasure to serve the public for 38 years and I regret not a minute of it”.  He suggested to the young people in the audience, “If you never want to work again, find something that you love to do as work – I found it when I joined the fire department”.  He closed by saying, “…even to be there in moments of sorrow, just to be a shoulder to cry on is an honor – I walk away with many memories.”  He plans to continue to share his expert knowledge and skills of public safety as a Consultant throughout his retirement

The presentation was also attended by Chief Markey’s wife, Janice Markey and Freeholders Leonard Luciano and Brendan Gill.


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For Additional Information:
Kathy R. Brown, Research Analyst
Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders



Board of Chosen Freeholders, County of Essex
Hall of Records - Room 558, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102
Tel: (973) 621-4486 Fax: (973) 621-5695