Street renamed in memory of one of Byram's finest

Rich Choate honored on 3rd anniversary of his death

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  • The new street sign in honor of a fallen firefighter.

By Laurie Gordon

BYRAM--On Friday evening, Sept. 8, on the third anniversary of Rich Choate's death, the Byram Township Fire Department dedicated in his honor the street on which he had lived in the Cranberry Lake section. It was a respectful ceremony and gesture for a man who gave back to and loved his community.

Rich Choate Drive was officially unveiled with a short ceremony. In attendance was his wife, Audrey, her sister, neighbors, friends, town officials, the fire department and members of the police department.

On Sept. 8, 2014, Choate was driving one of three department vehicles that were called to respond to a fire. The alarm was minor and shortly after he returned to the Lackawanna station, Later that day, he was found unresponsive inside his personal vehicle later that day, which had run off the road into a wooded area. Police and emergency medical personnel responded and found him in cardiac arrest and it was declared that he had suffered a heart attack and passed away at a local hospital. Choate was 68 and had given 24 years of dedicated service to Byram’s Volunteer Fire Department as well as helping to train hundreds of firefighters at the Sussex County Fire Academy over the years.

“Choate's humor played out, as it started to rain over us while the sun was out only a few short miles away,” said Byram Township Fire Department Chief Todd Rudoff. “Thanks to all that helped make this happen especially the Byram Department of Public Works for hanging the signs. Until we meet again, Rich.”

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