This is a printer-friendly version of an article from Zip06.com.Article Published July 15, 2020
For the past 12 years, Pasquale “Pat” Nuzzolillo has served as the chairman of North Haven’s Board of Fire Commissioners. The opportunity first came about when the previous chairman, William Mitchell, was elected as second selectman and had to relinquish his seat.
“He asked me if I’d be willing to participate so I met with then-first selectman Kevin Kopec, and I’ve been involved ever since,” says Pat, who has then been re-elected to the position and voted as the commission chairman since then. “I was really interested in the fact that, at the time, the North Haven Fire Department was interested in implementing a paramedic program and I thought my background could lend itself to the application process.”
Pat grew up on Wooster Street in New Haven before attending Quinnipiac College to study business administration. He then spent time working selling and setting up inhalation therapy equipment before he joined the Navy in 1968. With an interest in medicine, he decided to attend the Naval Hospital Corps School to become a corpsman.
“A corpsman is like a physician’s assistant, so as a result of working with physicians on the job, we were able to learn many things physicians do like suturing, removing lumps and bumps, and things done in medical field,” says Pat. “It was an interesting experience for me and it has helped me throughout my business career.”
Since returning from the Navy, Pat has worked for two different HMOs, working as the vice president of marketing and sales for each. He now works in sales for The Landing of North Haven, an assisted living and memory care facility.
While COVID-19 has presented challenges, particularly at his workplace, Pat is proud to report that there have been no cases among residents or the staff throughout these months. One of his favorite parts of his job is interacting with the residents.
“It’s a wonderful position where I’m able to interact with residents on daily basis in a family environment,” says Pat. “It’s really a blessing to be able to touch the lives of residents on a day-to-day basis.”
COVID-19 has also had an impact on Pat’s role with the fire commission as the fire chief is also the town’s emergency management director. As the chairman, Pat’s role involves coordinating meetings and sharing information pertinent to the fire commission that’s discussed at Board of Selectmen or Board of Finance meetings. He also works with members of the Board of Police Commissioners, including its chair Larry Lazaroff and vice chair Robin Wilson.
“It is so important, especially with the COVID issue, to make sure all facets of public safety understand what’s happening and we’re on the same page,” says Pat. “An open line of communication is critical and there is great collaboration.”
The commission members have equal votes as it pertains to hiring and decision-making for the department. As the chairman, Pat is in “constant contact” with Fire Chief Paul Januszewski.
“Our current chief is a very forward-thinking administrator and chief,” says Pat. “He has a plan to move the fire department forward.”
Pat reports that there is one central station and three volunteer stations, but full-time staff was recently relocated to the Montowese station in order to “better serve our residents.” The department has also increased the number of firefighters who have been hired and the number working per shift, making sure that all of the personnel are also trained as paramedics.
Januszewski has also worked with Pat and the fire commission to upgrade equipment, most recently replacing a 35-year-old apparatus.
“Our fire apparatus has been antiquated for a number of years and only most recently has our Board of Finance, with the urging of our chief and [First Selectman] Mike Freda, been able to purchase new apparatus,” says Pat. “It’s only fair to our firefighters to make sure our equipment meets all of the standards as laid out by the International Association of Firefighters. I’m pleased to have been part of that initiative.”
While Pat had a background in the medical field before joining the fire commission, he was unfamiliar with firefighting. He enjoys being a part of the commission and has learned a lot over the years.
“I’ve grown to be very appreciative of what firefighters do and the skill, expertise, and dedication it takes to run into buildings that other people are running out of in an emergency,” says Pat. “We appreciate the support our residents have provided to public safety. I and the other commissioners firmly believe that our senior leadership at the fire department has the education, skill, and expertise to manage this department for the best interest of our residents, the town’s businesses, and visitors to our community.”
Pat has called North Haven home for 35 years. While he doesn’t have much free time between his job and his volunteer work, with the time he does have, he tries to focus on his family.
He and his wife, Angele, are looking forward to spending more time with their family as their son PJ, daughter-in-law Julie, and eight-year-old granddaughter Alexandra, who is “our joy,” will be moving in with them.
“We’re really excited about spending more time with them,” says Pat, who has now lived in North Haven for 35 years. “I really enjoy living in this beautiful community. The people are generous, kind, caring, and we enjoy the benefits of living in a beautifully run town.”