Thomas “TK” Kolarick joined Protection Fire Company No. 1 of Keasbey on August 12, 1974, when he was just 18 years old. He served as an active member for over 41 years until his death on November 11, 2015, due to injuries suffered in the line of duty. He was a life member of the company.
During his 41 years as a volunteer firefighter, he served the people of Keasbey, the Township of Woodbridge, and the surrounding communities in mutual aid capacity, with a tireless sense of duty. Tom was a six-time chief of the fire department for the years 1981-82, 1987-88, 1997, 1998, 2003, and 2008. At the time of his death, he was serving as Keasbey’s deputy chief. He was a highly trained firefighter and was a member of the special operation teams trained in technical rope rescue and trench rescue. His personnel folder is filled with certificates from numerous firefighting schools, including a Green Cross Award for a rescue using the Jaws of Life in 1997.
Thomas Kolarick served as fire company president for many years and at the time of his passing was the fire company treasurer. He also served as a fire commissioner for the 4th Fire District of Woodbridge Township from 1983-1987. During his time as fire commissioner, the current Keasbey Fire Headquarters building was built.
He was recognized as an Exempt Fireman for the State of New Jersey in 1981. He was a member of the Keasbey, Fords and Hopelawn Exempt Fireman Association, a member and trustee of the Keasbey, Fords and Hopelawn Firemen’s Relief Association, a life member of the Woodbridge Township Fire Officer’s Association, and a life member of the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association.
Thomas was a strong and powerful force who, for over 41 years, personified confidence, ingenuity, and common sense on the fire ground. Cool and controlled in any situation no matter how chaotic, he was the type of man you wanted to have next to you as you faced any of life’s challenges. His was a life of caring and compassion for his family, his fellow man, and especially for his brother and sister firefighters.
Thomas Kolarick is survived by his loving wife of 22 years, Barbara; his daughter, Emily; his three sons, Austin, Eric and Thomas (wife Barbara); his three grandchildren, Trinity, Phoenix and Jaden; and his sisters, Donna and Debbie. He is sorely missed and will be in our hearts forever and never forgotten.