Michael Dingelstedt offically became Maplewood's new fire chief at Tuesday night's Maplewood Township Committee meeting.
Township Clerk Elizabeth Fritzen gave the oath of office to Dingelstedt as his family, friends, and fellow Maplewood firefighters looked on.
Dingelstedt, who said he was "overwhelmed," thanked his wife, Nancy and daughters, who were in the audience. He also expressed gratitude to outgoing Chief Joseph Richardella, for his leadership and friendship throughout the years. Dingelstedt said he and Richardella have been friends since high school.
Also sworn in were Capt. Joseph Callaghan to Deputy Chief (replacing Dingelstedt), and William Heerwagen, Jr., a firefighter who was promoted to captain.
Callaghan thanked his mother, who he said "has shown me the way my whole life." He also acknowledged his fellow firefighters in the audience, his four children and his wife, Mary, who he said encouraged him throughout his career.
Heerwagen's voice wavered as he discussed his family, including his "honor student" daughter, his older son, whom he called a "hero" for extinguishing a fire in the family home when Heerwagen was on duty during Hurricane Irene, and his youngest son -- who was dressed for the occasion in full firefighter regalia. He singled out his wife, Suzanne -- "a firefighter's wife" -- who he said has been there through "thick and thin."