Byram honors murdered soldier discovered by firefighters

Byram. Four firefighters and a police officer attended Corporal Hayden Harris’s funeral in Tennessee. Harris is named an honorary Byram firefighter, and will be remembered on Memorial Day and with a separate memorial.

| 19 Jan 2021 | 04:53

Byram Township rallied to support the family of Corporal Hayden Harris, and to make sure his name is never forgotten.

Corporal Harris was kidnapped from the Fort Drum Army garrison in upstate New York and murdered in Byram Township. Township firefighters found Harris’s body buried in the snow on Dec. 19, while escorting Santa Claus through the township on their annual Santa ride, a day after he was reported missing from the Fort Drum.

During the township’s reorganization meeting on Jan. 5, Councilman Jack Gallagher thanked the four firefighters and the township police officer who represented Byram Township at Harris’s funeral in Tennessee. Harris is from Guys, Tennessee.

Fire Chief Todd Rudloff said Harris’s family and town truly appreciates the support they’re receiving from Byram residents, the township council, fire department, and police department. It was probably one of the most humbling experiences he has ever been a part of, Rudloff said.

Rudloff said the Byram Fire Department is recognizing Corporal Harris’s service to the nation by making him an honorary firefighter. He said Harris’s name will always be read during the Memorial Day parade “so that he’ll never be forgotten for the senseless act which happened unfortunately in our town.”

Mayor Alexander Rubenstein said the township is planning a memorial for Harris. The council agreed to discuss a sub-committee of residents, possibly from Ross Road, where Harris was found, that would also include Rudloff, council members, and township administrators.

In other business:
Invocation: Russ Raffay gave an invocation asking for a blessing on all the leaders, employees, and volunteers involved in the community. He also asked everyone to remember they are servants to their neighbors, especially children, the elderly, the poor, those who are forgotten, and those with whom they disagree. “May God bless America, New Jersey, Sussex County, and Byram Township,” he said.
Reorganization: Mayor Rubenstein administered the oath of office to municipal clerk Cynthia M. Church and all members of the Volunteer Fire Department. The council unanimously appointed Councilman Raymond Bonker as deputy mayor; Tom Collins of Vogel, Chait Collins & Schenider as township attorney; and Cory Stoner of Harold Pellow & Assoc. as township engineer.
Budget: Township manager Joseph Sabatini said the municipal budget is expected to be introduced by March, with adoption in April.
Covid-19 vaccinations: Mayor Rubenstein said the Byram ShopRite is administering 200 vaccinations. Only people classified as 1A – front-line medical workers or people working in community residential businesses, like nursing homes – is eligible to receive the vaccination at this time. He said the state activated a website where residents may preregister for vaccinations and be alerted when they are available.
Energy aggregator: Rubenstein said the GEA Energy Aggregator received information that could save residents 10 percent on electricity. In the future, the council will determine if the aggregator should pursue a bid on behalf of the township.
Medical technicians: The council unanimously passed a resolution to support NJ legislative bills A4687/S3189 extending the expiration date of EMT and paramedic certificates for six months. Some classes were canceled or were over capacity due to the pandemic.
Radon: The council unanimously approved a proclamation declaring January as Radon Action Month. Sabatini said a small number of free radon canisters is available for residents to run tests in their homes.