Paul Koert loved fire apparatus
By RON JEFFERS New Jersey Editor
1st Responder Newspaper Story Number 020915127
Disclaimer: This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.
He loved to take photos and make detailed models of fire apparatus. He was an engineer at his firehouse, taking care of the rigs, plus, his private car always shined with pride. Paul Koert, a member of Lake Hiawatha Fire District 4, in Parsippany, passed away at his home on February 8th.
In addition to his love for fire trucks, he loved motor vehicles in general. He was often seen at fire apparatus musters and transportation shows along the East Coast. He also purchased his own apparatus-former Maplewood Engine 4's unique 1964 Dodge Power wagon mini-pumper. That model was known as Little Moe. He proudly took it to shows and parades, unless he considered it “too dirty.” Even the hose in the bed was clean and properly tucked in.
He was a well known model builder and assembled many scratch built, or customized, models of fire apparatus for himself and for other collectors. He was a member of the former Fire Apparatus Model Builders Association (FAMBA) and served as a newsletter editor. In addition, he also was a member of the the Antique Fire Association of New Jersey (AFANJ) and participated in many of that organization's committees and newsletter. He was also a New Jersey Metro Photographers Association (NJMFPA) member.
Paul's love for fire trucks began as a youth growing up in Paterson. He watched those big, red Ahrens Fox piston pumpers (with the big ball on the front) racing to alarms of fire in the busy industrial city, and he never lost his interest.
He loved to properly pose, and photograph, fire apparatus and had a vast collection of photos and apparatus brochures. He attended many “death march” fire photo trips with his fellow apparatus photographer friends. One of the highlights of the year was meeting Pennsylvania friends Brian Glasmire, Mike Krupilis and Cary Murray, to attend the Fire Expo in Harrisburg, and formerly in Lancaster County. He would attend the show to check on firefighting equipment or ideas and prices to bring home, and meet his many Fire Service friends and vendors attending the event. Then it was time to go outside and hit the firehouses for photos. Is the sun out? If not, there was a visit to the Harrisburg Fire Museum, or food buffing, and praying for the clouds to part.
Paul was also an excellent artist. He had a sideline job of creating the art work for mugs for fire department wet downs and parades. Some of his best work appeared on mugs made for the Newark Fire Department's Historical Association annual June muster, of the city's former apparatus, from the late 1980's to 2000. His art work didn't stop there. He made fire and security maps, including one for the firehouse showing fire hydrant locations and other first responder information.
Some 20-plus years ago he met Virginia Beach Firefighter Martin Grube while on vacation and, of course, stopping at the local firehouse. That meeting grew into a life-long friendship. Grube and other Virginia firefighters formed a bond with Paul and members of the New Jersey Metro Fire Photographers Association that still exist today. Grube is now the executive producer of Fire Rescue TV.
Paul Koert's name was known by many apparatus buffs and members of the fire apparatus industry around the country. His talents and dedication to the Fire Service will be missed by many.
For those of you of an older generation that attended fire shows in the 1980's and 90's, are familiar with Marilyn and Gil's Fire Station. The couple traveled all along the East Coast attending firematic shows and selling fire service novelty items. Paul was close to both of them, and traveled to their upstate New York home to pay them a visit, besides seeing them at events. I'm sure they are all together now in a better place, and Paul is keeping M&G up on all of the new toys and products.
Rest in Peace, Paul.
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