Norwich promotes one firefighter to lieutenant, adds new member

Matthew Manke, 9, struggles to pin the new lieutenant’s badge on his father, Jacob Manke, while the boy’s sister, Leah, 13, looks on during Manke’s promotion ceremony Friday, May 25, 2018, at Norwich Fire Department. (Claire Bessette/The Day)
Matthew Manke, 9, struggles to pin the new lieutenant’s badge on his father, Jacob Manke, while the boy’s sister, Leah, 13, looks on during Manke’s promotion ceremony Friday, May 25, 2018, at Norwich Fire Department. (Claire Bessette/The Day)

Norwich — Both veteran service and the choice of firefighting as a new career were celebrated Friday during a promotion and badge-pinning ceremony at the Norwich Fire Department.

Jacob Manke, 41, an 11-year veteran fire inspector and deputy fire marshal, was promoted to lieutenant to head the training and safety department, while newly hired firefighter Joseph Muscarella, 22, was welcomed as a new member of the city’s paid fire department.

While he praised Manke for his strong leadership and dedication, Chief Kenneth Scandariato told the packed room at the Norwich Fire Department that he would address most of his comments to Muscarella. The chief told the rookie that his actions, both on and off duty, will reflect on the department now and in the future. He would need to have loyalty to the department, strength, courage, leadership and integrity, dedication to training, safety and discipline.

“Responsibility of personal integrity rests deeply within each person,” Scandariato said. “You are allowed to be without perfection as a firefighter but not without integrity.”

Muscarella grew up in Norwich and attended Teachers’ Memorial Middle School and graduated from Norwich Free Academy in 2013. He said he took the city’s firefighter test right out of high school but didn’t make it. He worked for the city Public Works Department and tried again, succeeding and excelling at the Connecticut Fire Academy.

His father, Joseph Muscarella, pinned on his new badge, and his mother, Roseanne Muscarella, Norwich's assistant city clerk, swore him in to his new position.

Scandariato said that, over the past decade, he has come to rely on Manke to successfully complete any task assigned to him. Manke was hired as assistant deputy fire marshal in 2007 and appointed to the division of safety and training in February 2016, the chief said, “and he’s turned it around.” Manke currently is working with the Millstone Power Station on a drill and has played a key role in the city’s emergency management, Scandariato said.

“Nothing that I toss at him is too much to do,” Scandariato said. “He’s a very good person for us and plays a key role in many things that we do.”

Manke’s children, Matthew, 9, and Leah, 13, worked together — and struggled a bit — to pin on the badge but would not relinquish the honor to an adult. Their mother, Jen Manke, waited patiently for her chance to congratulate her husband.

Manke thanked the chief and fellow firefighters, department staff and his family for their support of his career. Manke called being hired as fire inspector in 2007 “a dream come true.” He said he found it “instantly appealing” when he was offered the training and safety position two years ago, with a chance to have a lasting impact on the department, and is ready for the new challenge the chief has given him.

c.bessette@theday.com

New Norwich firefighter Joseph Muscarella is congratulated by his father, also Joseph Muscarella, after the elder Muscarella pinned the badge on his son. The new Norwich firefighter was sworn in by his mother, Norwich Assistant City Clerk Roseanne Muscarella, during a ceremony Friday, May 25, 2018. (Claire Bessette, The Day)
New Norwich firefighter Joseph Muscarella is congratulated by his father, also Joseph Muscarella, after the elder Muscarella pinned the badge on his son. The new Norwich firefighter was sworn in by his mother, Norwich Assistant City Clerk Roseanne Muscarella, during a ceremony Friday, May 25, 2018. (Claire Bessette, The Day)

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