Frank Sole has been a member of the Red Bank Independent Engine Company 93 for 57 years, and still responds to up to three-quarters of the alarms each year from his home in the River Plaza section of Middletown.
Today’s Asbury Park Press has a nice piece about Sole.
Each time Sole hears the fire horn blare or his pager emits a beep alerting him to a possible fire, he’s out the door and on the go.
“I try to make every call, if I can,” said Sole, 79, who recently received the Red Bank Firefighter of the Year award during a special ceremony at the Shadowbrook Inn in Shrewsbury.
Except for a stint in the U.S. Army when he served in Korea (1950-1952) during the war, Sole has been a mainstay at Company 93.
Sole knew from the time he was a boy that he wanted to be a firefighter. His aunt would take him to visit some of the firehouses in Brooklyn, N.Y. If he was lucky enough, he got to slide down the fire pole.
In the article, Sole contrasts the relative lack of training and equipment available to firefighters when he joined to the high-tech gear and extensive, detailed schooling that today’s volunteers must go through. He reflects back on some major fires he’s helped battle. He notes the negative impact of rising housing costs on the ability of volunteer companies to attract and retain firefighters.
And he talks about his love of being a fireman.
“I enjoy it, I look forward to seeing the guys,” Sole said.
When he responds to a fire call, Sole said he thinks about two things: getting there and seeing what needs to be done.
“People are always glad to see us,” Sole said.
The whole Sole family gets into the story, it seems, with quotes from Sole’s son, Joseph, a firefighter in the River Plaza Hose Company; a daughter; and his wife, who sounds like a great sport:
“Every member is just as dedicated and deserving as my husband,” added Sole’s wife, Adeline. “It hasn’t interfered in our lives too much. There may have been a few late dinners and a few missed dinners, but this is something Frank likes to do.”