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Bernie Cohan EX Chief of Cheesequake Fire Dept.

By THOMAS COHAN, Correspondent | June 29, 2020 | NEW JERSEY

Story No. 062920101

Bernard T. "Bernie" Cohan died peacefully at home on June 27, 2020.

Born on December 29, 1930 in New York City, Bernie moved to Old Bridge, NJ in 1936 and remained a lifelong resident. Mr. Cohan served in the U.S. Navy Reserves from 1951 to 1953 and was called to active duty right before the end of the Korean War. Severely injured during a helicopter training flight in 1953, he was honorably discharged as a disabled veteran in 1955.

In 1956, Bernie joined the Laurence Harbor Volunteer Fire Department to begin a passion for public service that lasted the rest of his life. When Bernie and Elaine moved from Laurence Harbor to the Cheesequake section of Old Bridge in 1961, Bernie joined the Cheesequake Volunteer Fire Department. Until his death, he served in many leadership positions, beginning as the Chief from 1970 through 1972. He kept the title "Chief" throughout his life because as the saying goes in the fire fraternity, "once a chief, always a chief."

Bernie put that adage to work, remaining active in leadership positions for decades, including service as a Past President of the Eastern Division of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Past President and active membership in the Bayshore Fire Chiefs Association, which honored him as its "Man of the Year" in 2005, and the Past President of the NJ State Fire Chiefs Association.

In addition to his time in the fire service, Bernie was also a Special Police Officer with the Old Bridge Police Department for 50 years, receiving recognition for this service in 2008. Following his military service, Bernie worked for the United States Postal Service for 34 years, retiring in 1985. On the first Monday following his retirement from the Postal Service, Bernie immediately began his second career as a Fire Marshall for the Old Bridge Fire District #2, where he served for 10 years.

The full obituary can be read here:

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.