Our UFCW Local 152 members come from many unique and diverse backgrounds and perform great deeds outside of work. Some members choose to go above and beyond their daily activities and make a difference in their communities, like our Local 152 Leader for this month: Marylynn Graham, a Bakery Manager of Acme Markets in Somers Point, New Jersey. When Marylynn isn’t clocked in at Acme, she dedicates countless hours to the Bargaintown Volunteer Fire Company as the 1st Lieutenant, a position she has held for three years. Bargaintown is a subsection of Egg Harbor Township, NJ, and holds their own volunteer fire company with about fifty volunteers performing various tasks.
Marylynn’s firefighting interest was sparked in 2009, after her son Matthew joined the Bargaintown Volunteer Fire Company as a “Junior Firefighter,” a national program which encourages youth to learn about, and ultimate become, members of the fire company. Inspired by his positive experience, Marylynn decided to join the Ladies Auxiliary, a group at the firehouse that provides refreshments to the volunteer firefighters.
In 2011, she decided she wanted to jump into “real” firefighting and began attending the necessary classes after work. As you can imagine, becoming a firefighter is an extremely dangerous profession, and requires a lot of formal and hands-on training. But these classes just fueled her excitement and eagerness to begin real firefighting, and she quickly went up the ranks to her current position. Marylynn Graham was the first female hired out of Atlantic County as a female fire instructor, and is one of just three female firefighters of the five volunteer fire companies in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. Today, her sons Matthew and Jeremy are also firefighters in their own right.
As a firefighter, Marylynn is part of the essential personnel in times of crisis. She is always on call, and has had to run out on countless dinners, activities, and family functions to respond to calls. She–along with the rest of her team in Bargaintown–selflessly dedicate countless hours of their own time to firefighting with no monetary compensation. Her fire gear in total weighs nearly one hundred pounds, but after seven years as a Volunteer Firefighter, “You get used to it!”
We asked Marylynn if there were any useful tips she’d like to share with us, as regular citizens. She wanted to stress the following:
Finally, we wanted to acknowledge that Marylynn Graham has received quite a few awards for her service as a Volunteer Firefighter. She received the Citizen of the Year Award from Chris Brown in 2014, and had the unique opportunity to fly with the Air Force Thunderbirds in an F-16, named in her honor (pictured in the gallery below). On top of it all, she is a 13-year cervical cancer survivor.
We are honored to have such an amazing member like Marylynn featured as a Local 152 Leader! The staff at UFCW Local 152 would like to commend her on her service to the Bargaintown Volunteer Fire Company and personally protecting the citizens in our community.