Adam Kerop: Where’s the Fire?
Many youngsters say they want to be firefighters. Most do something else. Not Adam Kerop. He planned to become a firefighter and he is now the assistant chief of the Deep River Volunteer Fire Department and also the fire marshal.
“He is super committed to the community,” said Jane Moen, who along with Sage Novak, is organizing of the upcoming Heartfelt Market on Saturday, Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Deep River.
Moen is the guiding force behind The Nest Coffee Shop and Novak is the owner of two clothing shops in Deep River, Anchor and Compass and Compass Rose.
The market is a chance to benefit the community in several ways. It supports participating merchants, many of whom will be offering special discounts on some items for the occasion. In addition, purchases will generate donations by the merchants to two local organizations: The Deep River Fire Department and the Deep River Ambulance Service.
Shoppers collect hearts from each business they visit, whether or not they purchase anything. Attendees create wreaths of accumulated hearts, which will be collected at The Nest on Deep River Main Street. Those wreaths, in turn, will provide the basis for a drawing at 4 p.m. for a cash prize.
“At its core, Heartfelt Market is about bringing our community together and giving back to our first responders who’ve been there for us year after year,” Moen noted.
The market raised some $1,500 last year, the first time it was held.
“I can’t think of a better example of our community working together,” Adam says. “It helps businesses and people enjoy shopping. I know it went well last year.”
According to Adam, the money the fire department receives will go toward the purchase of personal protective equipment.
Adam, born in Deep River, moved with his family to Old Lyme, where his grandmother lived, when he was in 4th grade. He says some people in Deep River still recall him as a small boy.
“There are people who still remember me as Wendy’s or Harry’s son,” he says of his late parents.
Adam’s sister, Julie, also recently bought a house in Deep River.
Adam was 12 years old when he first began interested in the fire department. An Old Lyme neighbor invited him to visit.
“I got hooked,” he recalls.
He was so hooked, in fact, that he attended Eastern Kentucky University because it had a major in fire protection management and engineering along with industrial risk management.
In Deep River, as assistant chief, Adam’s responsibilities cover everything from general operation of the department to training and communication at the fire scene itself. Adam emphasizes that the fire department is always looking for volunteers.
“Lots of people always wanted to be firefighters; we welcome people. There are many different jobs we can train people for,” he says.
Potential new members are encouraged to stop by the Deep River Fire House at 57 Union Street on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. or call and leave a message at 860-526-6042.
Over the 30 years he has been involved in firefighting, Adam has faced tense situations—things like blocked exits and having to use a window to get out of a burning structure.
“That’s what you train for, to know what to do when things go wrong,” he says. “That’s when your training kicks in to have the knowledge and the confidence.”
As fire marshal, Adam is responsible for inspecting commercial and residential premises as well as renovations. He says the inspections do reveal things that need to be corrected, but he is eager for people to understand why the corrections are necessary.
“I want people to know the reason why; it is a chance to educate the public,” he says.
Professionally, Adam has worked for Pfizer for 20 years in risk management and environmental health and safety. His first association with the company was a college internship. Given his responsibilities, Adam often works at home teleconferencing with facilities throughout the world at the different hours that multiple time zones make necessary.
Although he is not involved in the scientific research at Pfizer, of which the successful COVID vaccine the company developed is but one example, Adam says this is a very proud time for all Pfizer employees.
Balancing his work and fire responsibilities can be a challenge.
“It is a juggling act sometimes. That’s why it’s important to have as many volunteers as we can,” he says.
For some years, Adam worked at Pfizer corporate headquarters in Manhattan, living in Guilford because the train commute to New York was easier. At that time, he was also a captain in the Guilford Fire Department before moving back to Deep River.
“We wanted to be closer to family,” he says.
His wife Dana’s family is in Old Lyme and she teaches reading and language arts for 3rd through 6th grades at Deep River Elementary school. The couple, former classmates in Old Lyme, has three children.
Adam is looking forward to the upcoming Heartfelt Market.
“I think it is really about people helping one another,” he says. “I like my kids to see that.”
For information about joining the Deep River Fire Department, call 860-526-6042.
Deep River’s Heartfelt Market is on Saturday, Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Deep River merchants.