Firefighter William F. “Bill” Gerace was a 10-year veteran of the Gibbsboro Fire Company #1. During his time with the Gibbsboro Fire Company, Bill was honored by the Camden County Fire Chiefs and Firemen’s Association in 2007 with the James E. Sylvester Award. This award is presented for academic achievement at the Camden County Fire Academy to recognize the cadet who achieves the highest grade point average during Basic Firefighter One training. Bill was also presented with the President’s Award for his exceptional commitment and service to the fire company during 2009. In 2011, for his dedication and commitment to community service and for exceeding the requirements expected of his position and showing a distinct pattern of professional achievement, Bill was awarded Firefighter of the Year by the Gibbsboro Fire Company. Posthumously, he was awarded The Bravest by the Camden County Firemen’s Association and Camden County Fire Chiefs and Fire Officers Association. He also received the Public Safety Purple Heart Award from the Camden County Hero Scholarship Fund.
Firefighter Gerace will be remembered for his ability to connect with children during fire prevention. He is especially remembered for his annual fire prevention presentation with the 4-year-old Pre-K class at the Gibbsboro Elementary school with his special puppet, “Chief Sylvester McMonkey McBean.” The children of Gibbsboro fondly called him Fireman Bill. Bill was always willing to help out, no matter whether it was an emergency, public assist, or fire company fundraiser. Bill made a point to visit other fire stations with his son during family vacations.
Firefighter Gerace took part in the annual live burn at the Camden County Fire Academy on April 10, 2017. During this training exercise, Firefighter Gerace suffered a spiral fracture of the right fibula. On April 28, Firefighter Gerace was showing signs of respiratory difficulty. Upon the arrival of emergency personnel, Firefighter Gerace stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest. Firefighter Gerace was transported to a local hospital where the medical team was unable to revive him and pronounced him deceased. An autopsy was performed and indicated he suffered a pulmonary embolism that was determined to be a complication of the initial fracture and the recovery process.
William F. Gerace was born on October 18, 1962, to Anthony J. Sr. and Rosalie A. Gerace. He is survived by his wife of 14 years, Barbara A. Shelton-Gerace; son, Cameron, and daughter, Jessica Gerace; along with his brothers, Tony, Ted, and Joe.