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Schaer Urges Residents to Honor Life of Late Wallington Fire Captain by Donating Blood/Platelets to Help Firefighter Son

Blood Drive will Help Younger Barnas Firefighter in Battle against Leukemia after Losing His Blood Donor Father to Recent Blaze

Assemblyman Gary Schaer on Thursday urged residents to join him next week for a blood/platelet drive to benefit Wallington Firefighter John Barnas who is battling leukemia and lost his only viable blood donor – his father – when Captain Gregory Barnas died while battling a fire last month.

“Capt. Barnas was an invaluable asset to the Brotherhood and the communities he unselfishly served,” said Schaer. “He was greatly admired and loved for his expertise, passion and his readiness to guide the development of others. His passion for firefighting also made a lasting impression on his two sons – Kevin and John – who followed in their father’s footsteps. Let’s honor Capt. Barnas’s life by supporting his son in his efforts to beat cancer.”

Capt. Barnas began his firefighting career in 1972, when he joined the Wallington Volunteer Fire Department at the age of 16. He successfully climbed the ranks, ultimately serving as the fire department’s chief. The lifelong Wallington resident was also a dedicated member of the Jersey City Fire Department as well as a member of the Waymart Fire Volunteer Fire Department in Pennsylvania, where the family retreated for summer vacation.

Barnas and his sons were fighting the same blaze when he lost his life. The veteran fire captain died at the age of 57, while working to ventilate the roof of a burning restaurant last month.

Sadly, Schaer noted, this is not the only heartbreak that the family must endure. John Barnas, the youngest of Captain Barnas’s sons, is battling his own fight against leukemia. Barnas’s unexpected death not only robbed the family of their patriarch, but also John of the only viable blood donor in his family. As the only compatible donor, Barnas routinely provided his blood for his son’s treatment.

“Capt. Barnas dedicated his life to educating and protecting members of the public. He and his family have sacrificed so much in order to keep the residents of New Jersey safe. It is now time for us to return the acts of goodwill. I would urge everyone to join me as the Rutherford Fire Department, in cooperation with the Rutherford Community Blood Bank, host a blood/platelet drive in honor of our beloved captain,” added Schaer.

The blood/platelet drive will be held on Monday, April 7, 2014, from 2 to 8 p.m. at Rutherford Community Blood Bank, located at 55 Kip Center, Rutherford, NJ. Donors must be in general good health, weigh more than 100 lbs. and must have valid I.D. with a signature. Those interested in participating should call (201) 251-3703 to schedule an appointment or click here.

For those who are unable to attend the Rutherford Community Blood Drive, Hackensack University Medical Center will also be hosting an ongoing blood/platelets drive in support of the family. Donation hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and every 2nd and 4th Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Potential donors should call (551) 996-4818 to schedule an appointment.