Greg “Barney” Barnas was a resident of Wallington, New Jersey, a loving husband to Patty since 1986, and a loving father to Kevin and John. A Jersey City fireman since 1985, he was currently a captain of Jersey City Fire Department Ladder 6, captain of Wallington Fire Department Truck 201, an EMT, and a fire instructor for Task Force 1. Greg was a 9/11 responder with Jersey City when the World Trade Center was attacked.
Greg’s childhood dream was to be a firefighter. He joined the Wallington Junior Fire Department in 1974 and became a regular member of the department in 1975. Over the years, he served Wallington as a lieutenant, captain, assistant chief, deputy chief, chief of the department, and safety officer. Greg was also a member of the Wallington Emergency Squad and worked with the Fire Prevention Bureau. Greg was an instructor and evaluator for the Bergen County Fire Academy, a member of the South Bergen Fire Chiefs’ Association, C.R.E.W. Fire Chiefs’ Association, NJ State Fire Chiefs’ Association, IAFF #1064, and the Wallington Ex Chiefs Golden Horn Club.
Greg loved spending time at his summer home at Elk Lake, in Waymart, Pennsylvania, where he was also a member of the Waymart and Browndale Fire Departments. No matter where he went—home, work, or vacation—the fire department was always a part of his life. Over the years, he coached his sons’ soccer, baseball, and hockey teams. He loved fishing with his sons and going to baseball and hockey games.
Greg was a bone marrow/stem cell donor for his younger son, John, who had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and went through three stem cell transplants. John’s dream was to be a Jersey City fireman like his dad and his brother, Kevin. Greg was John’s last donor, and it finally appeared as though the cancer was gone. Unfortunately, John passed away four months after Greg, due to complications from a weak immune system and pneumonia.
Greg died fighting a restaurant fire on February 28, 2014, with the Wallington Fire Department. He died doing what he loved– fighting fires. He will be greatly missed by his family and many friends. We know Greg is with his son, John, and all the other firefighters, and I’m sure he called in some special favors to make sure John got assigned with him to a special fire department up in heaven.
Greg’s name and dedication to the fire service were known by many. He was passionate about training and helping departments when they did not have the financial resources locally available. We have created the Greg Barnas Firefighter Benefit Fund in Greg and John’s honor to help fire departments obtain training, equipment, and gear.