A little more than three weeks after he was knocked unconscious by a car, John Mego pulled his Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department dress blue jacket over the cast on his broken right arm Sunday to be sworn in as first deputy fire chief.
Bearing a scar from 35 stitches in his scalp, and minus the mustache he cultivated for years, the 65-year-old Spring Street resident said he was eager to get back to his duties as a crossing guard at Maple Avenue and Peters Place, where he was struck by a passing vehicle in a rainstorm on December 9.
“I’ll be back, same corner,” Mego tells redbankgreen. “I don’t remember anything , so it doesn’t scare me.”
“I stopped the cars, waved to the kids to cross, and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in intensive care,” he says.
In addition to the head wound, a concussion and a broken arm, Mego had a injuries to his spleen and liver, a split lip that required several stitches, and bruises all over. “I looked like I had a fight with Mike Tyson and lost,” he quipped to the stream of well-wishers who greeted him at borough hall.
The driver of the car that struck him was issued summonses for careless driving and failure to heed a stop signal, police said.
The Mego family lost a grandchild that same day as Mego’s accident, when Robert Weiler III, 28, of Middletown, was struck by a train at the Little Silver station. And a week ago, a niece in Texas died of breast cancer.
But Mego says the family is forging on, he says, and he’s looking forward to becoming chief next year.
Meantime, as he recovers from his injuries, Mego is unable to respond to fire calls for the first time in his 45 years with the department.
Mego was sworn into his fire department office along with Alan Soden Jr., 34, who succeeded Joe Forgione as chief, and 31-year-old Joshua Sanders, who became second deputy chief.
Soden, a Leighton Avenue resident and landscaper, served as chief in 2004, and came back for another term because “it’s just something I love,” he says. His father and grandfather before him also served as Red Bank fire chiefs.