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Ceremony marks beginning for fire chief

April 2, 2014
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle


A special pinning ceremony was held Wednesday evening to celebrate the appointment of the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Department's new fire chief, Joseph Marzella, and deputy chief, Benjamin Mickuleit. Retired Chief David Bradley returned to Pine Island to "pin" the new chief."It's an honor for me to be here tonight," Bradley said. "The chief's job is a very difficult job but a rewarding job. It's a job that requires a lot of tact, and what you don't have coming into the job you learn along the way. I suggested to the board that Joe is my candidate as the next chief. Joe, it's an honor for me to be here and please come forward."

Article Photos

New Pine Island Fire Chief Joseph Marzella is “pinned” by his wife Deborah and former Fire Chief David Bradley.


Bradley then conducted the pinning ceremony for Marzella.

"I, Joseph Anthony Marzella, do hereby declare that I will support the Constitution of the United States of America, the Constitution of the State of Florida. I will faithfully discharge the duties as the Fire Chief of the Matlacha/Pine Island fire control district to the best of my ability. I will respect, honor and obey the policies and procedures of the district I serve, and will promote the best interests of the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire control district.. Today I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith and accept it as a public trust. I here dedicate myself to the citizens and visitors of Matlacha/Pine Island to insure their safety, in the discharge of my duties so help me God."

Bradley asked Marzella's wife, Deborah, to assist him with the pinning ceremony. Each pinned an insignia on the new chief's collar. The fire chief insignia includes five "bugles." In the early days of United States' fire departments, the officers of the department would give orders to the firefighters through a brass megaphone. These megaphones were commonly called "bugles" or "speaking trumpets." Today the insignia includes bugles. The deputy chief's insignia has four bugles.

Marzella was born in Miami, Fla. The family relocated to Southwest Florida in the late 1960s. In 1982, he followed his brothers lead and joined the Fort Myers Fire Department.

"I had two older brothers that had been fir fighters in Kentucky and when my brother joined the Fort Myers Fire Department, I followed him," Marzella said.

That same year he also joined the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Department as an "Active Volunteer Firefighter." He became an emergency medical technician the following year.

In 1987, Marzella received the Firehouse Magazine "Heroism and Community Service Award" as shown on the TV show "Rescue 911." In 2003 he became Deputy Chief of the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Department.

"I've known the Marzella's 35 or 36 years," Bradley said. "I knew Joe's mom and dad very well and if they could be with us here today they would be very proud of Joe."

"Chief Bradley and everybody, thank you very much," Marzella said. "It's an honor to be given this opportunity and as I said before, I have a lot of my family here tonight. My brother Paul is a firefighter in the city of Cape Coral Fire Department. My brother Michael, the handsome one, my brother Jay is here with his girlfriend Sandy, also my lovely daughter is here. I would also like to thank Chief Bradley for giving me the opportunity to work here and for the faith in me to become Chief."

The ceremony continued with the "pinning" of Deputy Chief Mickuleit. He joined the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Department right out of high school in 2004. Since then he has received numerous awards and Firefighter of the Year, Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District in 2007.

Mickuleit then read the oath of office. His wife, Megan, and his mother, who traveled all the way from Germany, "pinned" the new deputy chief.

"While Ben's getting stabbed," Marzella said "Ben came to us about 10 years ago when he was 19 years old. He applied to the department and went and got a state of Florida Fire certification, and in the short 10 years he's been here he went to State Fire College and got Fire Officer 1, 2 and 3 and Instructor 1, 2 and 3, his associates degree and his bachelors degree. He will ba an asset for this department for many years to come."

Chief Marzella and Deputy Chief Mickuleit welcome the opportunity to introduce themselves to the residents of Pine Island and Matlacha.

Please contact Chief Marzella at 283-0030



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