First responder who died in the line of duty honored

EMS station dedicated to Scott Danielson

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  • Sussex County Freeholder Carl Lazzaro gives the invocation Photos by Debbie Danielson

  • Four of Scott Danielson's nephews: from left, Patrick and Matthew Danielson (sons of Eric and Debbie) and Kyle and Ryan Danielson (sons of Kevin and Cindy)

  • Plaque placed by the Lakeland Emergency Squad

  • Area first responders, officials and friends in solemn observation

  • The piper played Amazing Grace

  • Boy Scout troop 276 tends to the flag

  • Scott's brothers, Kevin Danielson and Eric Danielson

By Rose Sgarlato and Joseph Picard

— Scott Danielson died while working to save lives. On Friday, his life was honored and memorialized with the dedication in his name of the Lakeland Emergency Squad’s Station No. 2 at Goodale Road and Route 206.

“The respect given to my brother is a true reflection of the wonderful people he was surrounded by who continue to serve the communities of Andover Boro, Andover Township and Byram Township day in and day out,” said Eric Danielson, chief of the Andover Township Police Department.

Scott Danielson was the emergency’s squad chief in 2015. He served on the squad for 35 years before his death, at 49, while on duty in January, 2016. He was also a councilman in Andover Borough.

“Our family is so very grateful to Lakeland Emergency Squad for recognizing Scott's 35 years of service to our communities by dedicating Station #2 in his memory,” said Scott’s father, Eskil “Skip” Danielson, himself a former EMT, police chief and mayor of Byram. “A line-of-duty-death is difficult for everyone to experience, none more so than the family. To see about 100 fellow first responders, Scouts and friends at the ceremony was a heart-warming, fitting tribute. We miss Scott so much it hurts.”

On January 16, 2016, Scott Danielson responded to a car accident on Route 206 in Byram. He learned, while on the way, that one of the victims was his daughter, Alycia. He treated his daughter at the scene and followed the ambulance to the hospital, where he collapsed. Despite emergency care for cardiac arrest, Danielson died without regaining consciousness.

Alycia Danielson spoke at the dedication. Freeholder Chairman Carl Lazzaro, who is a family friend and also a chaplain, performed the invocation and benediction. A plaque was unveiled in Scott Danielson’s honor. A bagpiper played “Amazing Grace.”

Local Boy Scout Troop 276 raised and lowered the flag, and a Scout played “Taps’ at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Attendees included first responders from local fire departments and first aid squads, including Byram Twp Fire, Andover Twp Fire, Andover Boro Fire, Allamuchy/Green First Aid and Newton First Aid, as well as the Lakeland squad.

State Sen. Steve Oroho (R-Sussex) was also present, as was Harold Wirths, who is running for state Assembly.

“It meant a great deal to the family and we appreciate the continued support the members of the Lakeland Emergency Squad have given,” Eric Danielson said. “It is truly a great organization, of which most of our family has been a part for several years. “

Scott Danielson is among first responders who have died in the line of duty, but whose families have had difficulties collecting the Workman’s Compensation death benefit.

Earlier this year, spearheaded by Skip Danielson, an independent group of first responders, their families and allies formed to demand action on behalf of the families of fallen EMS volunteers, so that they could collect the death benefit.

The group, calling itself the Committee for Justice for Bill and Scott (Bill being Bill Martin, a Stillwater Emergency Rescue volunteer who died in the line of duty in January 2013) has called on state government to investigate insurance companies for allegedly deliberately stalling the paying out of benefits, and is pursuing legal remedies in the courts. The committee is also pushing legislation to rectify the situation, with amendments to the state Workmen’s Compensation law that would relieve first responders or their beneficiaries from proving that death or injury during performance of their duty was directly and specifically related to their line-of-duty work.

Skip Danielson said Oroho told him at Scott Danielson’s ceremony that “ he expects to see the legislative changes move forward during the lame-duck period after elections.”

“We have had resolutions in support of the legislation passed by about a dozen organizations, most recently the Sussex County Association Chiefs of Police and the 200 Club of Sussex County,” Skip Danielson said.

He added that he attends every meeting of the Byram Township Council, in hopes that the governing body of his home town will also sign onto the resolution, which it has yet to do.

"As I closed his eyes for the last time as he lay on the ER gurney, I promised Scott that I would protect his family," Skip Danielson said.

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