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Saying goodbye to a fallen soldier is never easy. But when it is someone with whom you worked so closely with as a firefighter, it is a harder thing. But when he is larger than life, when he is a person who makes us all laugh or smile, no matter what the situation or odds are, it becomes extremely difficult and painful beyond words. Army Specialist John Kulick gave his life in the service of his Country in Beiji, Iraq on August 9, 2005. Johnny was a Career firefighter at the Whitpain Township Fire Department, Montgomery County Pa (Company 33.) He was also Deputy Chief of the Hatboro Fire Company, Montgomery County Pa (Company 95.) John was also a former Federal Firefighter, having started his paid career at the Naval Air Warfare Center (Aircraft Division) Warminster Pa. Fire Department (Bucks County Company 69.) From there he transferred to NASJRB Willow Grove, and then he moved onto Whitpain Township.
John made everyone smile, and if they weren't smiling, they were laughing. He also demanded nothing but excellence from those he was charged with training. John played hard and he trained hard. Always ready with a quick retort for any verbal assault, or a counter-practical joke, John became nothing but excellence unequaled when the bells rang. I am so extremely proud to be able to have called John a personal friend, and I can certainly say that he helped to get me hired at the NAWCAD Warminster Fire Department.
John became enraged when the United States was attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001. In the ensuing months, he enlisted in the US Army Reserves, as he felt it was his duty to his Country; but he did not go as a result of the lust of conquest or for vengeance, but rather to liberate. Specialist John Kulick, 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry Regiment, 28 Division, is seen here on his last ride, aboard his beloved 1967 "C" Model Mack owned by the Hatboro Fire Company.
One of his many obituaries: As a boy, John N. Kulick became enamored of firefighters. "He was in the firehouses all the time when he was younger," said Bob Kulick, his uncle. "He was fascinated by fire engines. He went to the local firehouses when they had the open houses and sat in the trucks." Little wonder, then, that he joined them when he was only 16. Kulick, 35, of Harleysville, Pa., died Aug. 9 in Beiji during an ambush. He was based in Philadelphia. He joined Enterprise Fire Co. of Hatboro at age 16 and worked his way up to deputy chief. He had served as a firefighter at Centre Square Fire Co. in Whitpain for eight years. He was remembered as a man who liked Lebanon bologna on Wonder bread with lots of mustard. He loved to dance and play the drums, and could be seen on his back porch break dancing with children, Army Chaplain Gary Taylor said. He was such an avid fisherman that the tackle department at Sears Roebuck won't be the same without his business, Taylor joked. "John spent his life saving others and he gave his life serving in a foreign land" Taylor said. He is survived by his parents, Tavy and James.
It should be mentioned that along with Johnny, also killed were Pfc. Nathaniel E. Detample, Sgt. Francis J. Straub Jr, and Spc. Gennaro Pellegrini Jr, a Philadelphia Police Officer.
John is seen here being laid to rest, on August 18, 2005. He will never be forgotten.
"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY