(July 5, 2014) - Chatham Borough, New Jersey has a sixty year tradition of celebrating the Forth of July in classic small town American style. The Chatham Borough Volunteer Fire Department faithfully organizes and hosts the parade, picnic, and fireworks for town residents. In anticipation for this parade, chairs are lined up on Main Street sometimes 48 hours in advance.
As a lifelong Chatham Borough resident, I was honored that this year the Fire Department decided to dedicate the day to raising Autism Awareness. To begin this day, my family was invited to be present at the early morning Flag Raising Ceremony. In preparation of the parade, all members of the Chatham Borough Fire Department proudly wore the Autism Speaks puzzle piece on their uniform along side a blue and white boutonniere.
Families from the Greater Morris Area Walk Now For Autism Speaks were invited to march behind the Fire Department in the parade. Following the parade, we were able to set up an information and awareness table at the community picnic. While at the picnic, all the Chatham Borough Firefighters changed into blue t-shirts to show their support. Any donations received during the picnic will go towards the Greater Morris Area Walk on October 25th.
My son, David, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. Our community and first responders have been such an incredible source of support and encouragement for us; not only for my own family, but all the Chatham families affected by autism. Their amazing show of support and their ability to create awareness during a 60 year old Independence Day tradition clearly illustrates to our families the Fire Department’s commitment to our community and of our importance in this community. I am so proud to be a resident here and to be raising our children here.