Foundation Testimonials

Pennsburg Fire Company Grant

“The Pennsburg Fire Company #1 would like to thank the Lt. Joey DiBernardo Memorial Foundation for awarding us with PSS systems for our firefighters. We received the grant and purchased our PSS systems that we have started training on. Due to this Foundation they have given our firefighters the mindset that they can get out of a bad situation at any given time.”

Pennsburg Fire Company #1 Says Thanks Pennsburg Fire Company Grant

The Riverside Fire Department would like to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Foundation. Our department was awarded the grant in the fall of 2018. On November 26, 2018, we received a check from the Foundation in the amount of $18,435. The grant will be used to outfit 24 firefighters with bail out systems which will be integrated into their turnout gear. The graciousness of your investment will allow our department to outfit all of our members with this system. This is a huge step forward in the name of safety and we cannot express our
thanks enough.

The grant will also allow 8 members of our department to attend training on the system. These eight personnel will be trained at the trainer level and again will allow all of our members to be trained to use the system. I have personally sat through presentations on the incident in which Joseph DiBernardo made the ultimate sacrifice. The work of your foundation truly honors his memory.

Assistant Chief David J. Snarr, Riverside Fire Department

On behalf of the Wildwood City Fire Department I would like to extend our department’s most heartfelt thank you to you and your organization for the grant awarded to our department in the amount of $13,675. Wildwood is a small city with big city issues including multi-story multiple dwellings, mid-rises, high-rises and many other unique features in associated with our resort ocean side city and its world famous boardwalk.

Our city continues to suffer from high unemployment rates and low household income resulting in Wildwood being the 29th most distress city out of New Jersey’s 566 municipalities. While we certainly are not proud of this, it underscores and highlights what your foundation is able to provide to departments such as ours.

Without this grant we certainly would not have been able to outfit our entire department along with being able to provide the training that comes with it. Because of this grant we knowingly are able to better protect our city’s firefighters and are better equipped to provide the very best life safety and fire protection to our residents and many summertime visitors.

Once again, from a very grateful department, we appreciate and applaud your ambition, initiatives and grants helping fire services thought out the country.

Chief Daniel F Speigel, Wildwood City Fire Department Wildwood Fire Department

Your Foundation has been able to help our department become better prepared for when the inevitable time occurs that a bailout becomes necessary by providing $6,808 to purchase equipment and training. The grant allowed us to purchase 16 bailout systems and get up to 15 firefighters trained in bailouts and use of the new systems. We were also able to get 8 Firefighters trained as trainers for ongoing training. The invaluable service you provide is one that will not be taken lightly nor be forgotten. The training we receive will be carried on for years as we will get some of the newest members trained as trainers in order to carry on the mentorship for the next 20-30 years.

Firefighter/Paramedic Jeremy Maglott, Bucyrus Fire Department

Thanks to the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation, our firefighters now have personal safety systems that afford them that extra safety measure. Without the Foundation’s generous donation our small department would not have been able to afford this state-of-the-art bail-out equipment. The fires and related hazards our crews face are no less dangerous than any organization across the country faces of which have much greater funds to purchase equipment. Mr. DiBernardo and the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation saw our need and did not hesitate to meet it! Thanks to this foundation our firefighters now have the best equipment as well as the best training on the necessary firefighter survival and bail-out techniques necessary to save their lives in the event the unthinkable occurs!

Fire Chief Tommy J. Sizemore, City of Barling Fire Department


“Never let it be said that we small departments are not mired in the same red tape as the rest of the world. I received the attached photo of our newest members in the bailout harnesses made possible by a generous grant from the DiBernardo Foundation.”

Charles Puglisi
Ex-Chief, Bellerose Fire Department

Members of the Bellerose Fire Department Receive Their Bailout Kits

Oradell Volunteer Fire Department

“On behalf of the Oradell Volunteer Fire Department, please except our sincerest thanks to both the Joey D Foundation and the Leary Firefighters Foundation. Without the generosity and hard work of the two foundations, our goal of equipping our members with life saving personal escape systems would not becoming a reality. Living just a few short miles from New York City, we are reminded on a daily basis of the dangers of firefighting and the sacrifice that Joe and the other firefighters made on Black Sunday. With this equipment, our members will have the tools they need to make it out safely should they be faced with a bailout situation. Again, on behalf of our members, thank you for helping keep firefighters safe, both in Oradell and across the country.”

Oradell Volunteer Fire Department

A family of heroes – It is hard to imagine a family suffering such a tragic loss such as the one that changed the lives of so many that horrific day (Black Sunday). Things would have been very different had the men been equipped with the proper personal Life Safety Rope systems. Since their son’s fall and subsequent passing, the DiBernardo’s have worked tirelessly to make sure that firefighters across North America have the equipment and training they need to stay safe. They established the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation.

They have been an inspiration to many and more importantly have worked tirelessly to save countless lives. Thank you to the DeBernardo’s for exemplifying strength, grace and selflessness in the face of the unthinkable. When I think of their son Joey – I always think of how in that single horrible moment – he took the time to put a fellow firefighter’s life above his own because the man had a wife and kids. Such selflessness, and kindness seems to disappear from the world a little more each day. He was a Hero, as are his family. I can not put into words how much I admire and respect you Barbara Winters DiBernardo Joe DiBernardo You are and will continue to be in my prayers. God Bless the FDNY and all the brave men and women who keep us safe…and their families who worry every day.

Charlene Viviano

You guys are in my thoughts this weekend. It’s amazing how the weather is the same as it was that day, and I’m in the exact same place doing the exact same thing as I was that day…staffing my home town FD during/after a storm…with many of the same people as 11 years ago. I only met Joey twice. I use to bring the members of my volunteer FD cadet program on a trip to NYC. Our first stop was rescue 3. The last 2 years that Joey was there he gave the cadets a tour of the station, and the rig. He answered questions, and told us why this is the greatest job on earth. He then made time to talk shop with us. We asked various questions about various stuff, he demonstrated several rescue techniques…one we’ll never forget was when he had one of our guys wrapped in a make shift webbing harness he pulled out of his gear, picked him up and slung him over his shoulder like it was nothing. The guy he did this to was about twice Joeys size. The guys here still talk about that. He was a great man. I learned so much from him in 2 short visits. I’m proud to attend the seminar every year, and as my department fights to get funding to purchase escape systems for our members he and the others are a constant reminder of why we need them. God Bless.

Lieutenant Bill Cadella

I just wanted to email and you how much I enjoyed the conference. It was well worth the trip from Texas and I plan on making it a yearly trip. I really enjoyed the meet and greet on Friday and I hope that you are able to offer that again. As a young member of the fire service it was wonderful to be able to meet some of the men that I look up to. I feel that I received my money’s worth and I would encourage any one to attend next year. I wish that I had had the pleasure of knowing your son, from the stories that I heard last weekend it was easy to tell that he was a fireman’s fireman. I have been challenged to become a better fireman and I feel that I walked away from the conference knowing more than I started with. Thanks again for putting the conference on.

Firefighter Hudson Babler

I was so honored last year to be asked to present at the first Joey D
Foundation seminar. I was the engine captain where young Joey was assigned as a
probie; from day one it was obvious he was something special. He would be so
proud to see what the Foundation that bears his name is accomplishing. They are
providing world class training to seminar attendees, bail-out ropes for
departments that can’t afford to buy them on their own, and have future plans
to help fire departments that have suffered losses to get back on their feet.
I’m proud to have worked with both Joey and Chief DiBernardo and I look forward
to seeing you at this year’s seminar.

FDNY Battalion Chief John Salka (Ret.)

In June of 2013, I had the privilege of attending the very first 2013 Lt. Joey DiBernardo Training Seminar as a rookie firefighter. If you were there too – then I thank you. It was profoundly humbling to be received with such warm friendship and the deepest, truest sense of brotherhood and sisterhood in the fire service. The caliber of training that we received was unparalleled and life-defining. There have been countless moments since then, when I have asked myself, how Lt. Joey DiBernardo would have handled a tough situation in life. Although I didn’t have the privilege of ever knowing him personally, through meeting Chief DiBernardo and his lovely wife Barbara, along with all of extraordinary men and women at the seminar, I found an even deeper sense of resolve. A purpose to always strive to be better and stronger, to never give up, and to tell firefighters everywhere in Michigan and in my travels, about personal life safety rope systems. Thank you all for such powerful inspirational and training.

Firefighter/EMT Rita M. Duff
During my fire service career as Executive Editor for Firehouse Magazine and currently as FDNY Editor for WNYF (With New York Firefighters) and my avocation as a volunteer Firefighter, I have attended most all of the popular conventions and conferences—Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC), New York State Chiefs, International Chiefs, Firehouse Expo, FDNY/FDNY Foundation Symposium, New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation.

The Lieutenant Joey DiBernardo Training Seminar, however, ranks among the best. Top shelf all the way. How can you lose when being taught by some of the absolute best and most knowledgeable speakers in the fire service?

The cozy venue promoted interaction with the speakers and other attendees. Lunchtime also provided an opportunity to exchange stories and notes. Typically, when I attend these functions, I bring work with me, just in case I become bored. I never pulled out my work at this seminar. A high bar has been set. I strongly recommend this learning experience; a weekend well-spent.

Janet Kimmerly
Editor, WNYF, FDNY
Volunteer Firefighter Protection Engine Company #1 of the Port Washington, NY, Fire Department

Firefighter Janet Kimmerly

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A Tribute to Joey

Copyright © 2020 Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation
The Lieutenant Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation, Inc. (Foundation) exists to assist fire departments with their ability to purchase and train with rescue equipment. Toward that end, the Foundation does so without regard to race, religion, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation or age. The Foundation’s By-Laws, Annual Report, and Conflict of Interest Policy are available by writing to the Foundation at its home address.