Our first Spotlight of 2021 features EMT Rich Allen who recently completed 15 years of service with FRFARS. Rich plans to begin his New Year in the best way we can think of: by spending more time volunteering at FRFARS.
Rich was born in Long Island, New York to Robert Allen and Dr. Margaret Schilling. He attended Glen Cove High School before earning a degree in Business Administration from Lebanon Valley College. Not long after graduation, Rich relocated to New Jersey and found his first job in the rapidly growing Information Technology sector as a data processor. This night-shift job allowed Rich to further his education, studying computer programming at the Chubb Institute. Eventually, Rich was offered a position in the IT Services department at Johnson & Johnson. Rich remained with Johnson & Johnson for over 39 years holding many roles of increasing seniority.
Rich first became interested in emergency services in the mid-1990s while working at J&J. The J&J campus maintains its own in-house Fire, Rescue, and Ambulance squad, known as Squad 67. Squad 67 is staffed entirely by employees volunteering to assist during emergencies in addition to their other job duties. Rich completed his initial EMT training in 1997 through Johnson & Johnson’s on-site EMT training program. Interestingly, the program’s instructor was none other than current FRFARS Chief, Tom Hoffman.
Shortly after completing his EMT training program, Rich went on to join the Stockton Fire Company’s First Aid Squad while remaining active with Johnson & Johnson’s Squad 67. In 2006-2007, Rich served as the Stockton Squad’s Captain, the highest-ranking EMS officer in the organization. Rich remained in Stockton until 2015, when local EMS coverage was migrated to other nearby Squads, including FRFARS.
Despite being a member of two other Squads, Rich felt that he needed to respond to more calls to keep his skills fresh. In 2005, Rich joined FRFARS as an Associate Member motivated by the high call volume encountered in Flemington. Associate Members are volunteers who, like Rich, join the Squad as active and fully trained members of other emergency services agencies. Associate Members have fewer duty hours, meeting, and drill requirements when compared to Standard Members for whom FRFARS is their home agency.
Late in 2020, after over 40 years in the IT field, Rich entered retirement and left Squad 67. Finding more time on his hands, Rich requested to change his membership status with FRFARS from Associate Member to Standard Member, increasing his time commitment to FRFARS.
During his many years as an Associate Member, Rich has been a fixture of Sunday evening duty crews. These days, Rich can be found at the Squad on many Tuesday and Friday evenings in addition to his usual Sunday evening shifts. Rich is always willing to share his experience with our newer members and is never too busy to review equipment or skills.
Outside of the Squad, Rich continues to live in Delaware Township with his wife Loretta and their two daughters who currently attend Rider University and Rutgers University. The Allen family has several farm animals and cats. Rich is certified in SCUBA diving, enjoys weight lifting, rock climbing, and is learning conversational Spanish.
Are YOU currently in an emergency services department and looking to expand your experience as part of a high-volume agency? Have YOU recently retired and started looking for a great way to give back? Join Rich and over 80 other volunteers in our community by clicking HERE.