ATFD President Sean Joyce Leads by Example
By Loretta Rodgers
As a first grade student at Our Lady of Peace School, Sean Joyce dreamed of becoming a firefighter. His dream became a reality, and at the current time he is not only a firefighter, but president of the Aston Township Fire Department. Joyce also serves as deputy emergency management coordinator and deputy fire marshal for Aston Township.
“I remember when I was in the first grade and the local fire department came to do a demonstration at our school,” Joyce said. “From that point on, I was hooked. I knew being a firefighter was what I wanted to do.”
Joyce was born and raised in Ridley Township. He is a 1990 graduate of St. James High School in Chester and received an associates degree from Keystone College and BA in communications from LaSalle University.
A resident of Aston Township for 10 years, Joyce is the father of six-year-old Reegan, who he calls “the love of his life.”
He is employed full time as a safety supervisor at Philadelphia Energy, formerly Sunoco Philadelphia.
Joyce started his firefighting career as a teenager with the Ridley Township, Holmes and Milmont Park Fire Companies.
He joined Green Ridge Fire Department and rose through the ranks, including firefighter, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and vice-president.
Joyce was appointed president of the Aston Township Fire Department in June 2015 to fill the unexpired term of Kit Spayd, who resigned the previous month.
Joyce speaks very highly of the firefighters in his department. Calling them professional and caring, Joyce said the goal of each and every Aston Township firefighter is to serve the community.
“We try to support anything and anyone in our community that would need a boost,” Joyce said. Our fire department organizes fundraisers for many different causes, and we allow people to use our property for events. Anytime we are asked to bring a piece of apparatus to an event or school, we gladly comply. This fire department is a big part of the community and our members are the most caring people I know.”
Joyce said, in turn, the community is very good to the fire department. He was quick to express appreciation to the Aston Board of Commissioners, Police Chief Dan Ruggieri, fire liaison, Aston 2nd Ward Commissioner Carol Graham, and many others.
He added that the residents of Aston show their appreciation to the firefighters often. He said they constantly receive thank yous for their hard work.
Joyce describes the fire department as strong and stable.
“We are very fortunate to have a large number of volunteers for our organization,” Joyce said. “We are a very progressive department and very big on training. We explore a lot of new technologies and we are fortunate to get a lot of members from outside our community. There are many who want to join here at Aston Township because we have a very good reputation.”
Currently, the Aston Township Fire Department has approximately 65 active members who are ready when the alarm sounds.
In the middle of this interview, the fire alarm went off and the fire truck was out of the bay in less than a minute. The firefighters put on their gear in record time and were gone.
“This is what I’m talking about,” Joyce said. “See the commitment and professionalism.”
Joyce said the deaths of firefighters Mike Reagan and Nick Picozzi, Jr. really left a lasting impact on him.
“That fire on Moser Street in Upper Chichester that claimed Nick’s life was very close to being in our home town” Joyce said. “We were active in fighting that fire. Those two very close to home line of duty deaths were devastating. After all, it’s our biggest fear. (ATFD Fire Chief) Mike Evans and I talk about it all the time.”
Joyce briefly discussed the merger between the Aston-Beechwood and Green Ridge Fire Companies that took 18 months to complete, and was finalized in January 2015.
“One of my biggest goals as president is that I want everybody to be under one roof, and to be more uniform,” Joyce said. “This will help the infrastructure of the organization. We have our to have our finger in the pulse of the community. Everybody here enjoys being a firefighter and giving back to the community.
I want people to know that the firefighters here in Aston enjoy what we do. We don’t look at this as a burden. We bring our children up here and our firehouse family continues to grow. There is nothing better than serving the community where we live.”