Delran Fire Company celebrates 50 years of fire chief's service

DELRAN, N.J. (WPVI) -- Charles Kendra knows the meaning of sacrifice, and on Tuesday night, the town he served as a firefighter for 50 years surprised him with a special honor.

Kendra has been a volunteer at the Delran Fire Company for half a century.

As his family grew, his service to his community never waned.

"It's just something I did. I didn't ask for anything, I just did it," Kendra said.

He was surprised to see the Delran firefighters' meeting totally derailed by his family, friends and coworkers. They were all there to celebrate Kendra with a town proclamation.

"Unbelievable. I didn't have a clue," Kendra said.

During his time as Delran fire chief, Kendra would use his own personal car, complete with one of those red blinking lights, and head off to his next call.

"For me as a kid that was really exciting. I even remember one day he delivered a baby on the side of the road and I was in the car," his son Chuck Kendra said.

Kendra's great granddaughter Gabrielle DeJoseph is among those impressed by his dedication.

"It's very generous to volunteer that much time, and it's a lot of effort to do that much. For 50 years, that's so long," DeJoseph said.

Kendra didn't see it happening any other way.

"Once you get started you just keep going. It's just seemed like the right thing to do," Kendra said.

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