"A TIP O' THE HELMET TO" ……… Fr. Chuck Mayo of Ladder Co. 1, for his alertness and quick action in the prevention of serious injury and probable death to a brother member, while operating at 2nd Alarm-Box #1222, transmitted at 0348 hours on 2 January, 1977 for a fire located at 513 Cooper Street. Severely low temperatures and heavy icing conditions made roof level operations extremely hazardous. While working at roof level, atop the three-story fire building, another member slipped on an ice coated peaked roof above Chuck's position, and began his downward slide toward, and inevitably over the edge. Fr. Mayo's quick reflexes in grabbing the brother resulted in only a close call instead of a tragedy. A job well done.
A Measure of Captain Mayo's leadership can be gathered by the fact that FFs Wrobel and Gorski both were promoted to Captain, and that FF Decaro retired as a Battalion Chief.
left to right: Charles
"Ed" Mayo, Bob Worrell, Sonny Frett, Pat
O'Keefe, George Szychulski,
Bobby Boyle, Dan Galasso , Denny Deal. Kneeling l to r. Vinny Ardire, Billy Barnhill
|Philadelphia Inquirer - March 22, 2017|
"Charles Mayo, 72, retired firefighter and barkeep
Charles E. Mayo made a living risking his life to save others. Then, after 31 years with the Camden City Fire Department, he retired as a captain, took a bartending job, and enjoyed more time with his grandchildren.
On Monday, March 20, Mr. Mayo, 72, of Clayton died at Virtua Marlton Hospital. He had been struggling with his health since he was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, said his wife, Trudy.
“We had a wonderful life,” Trudy Mayo said, describing family vacations in Myrtle Beach, where dozens of relatives from their extended family had congregated since 1990. Each year, the couple also hosted an open house on Christmas Eve.
The couple grew up in the Fairview section of the city but attended different high schools. Mr. Mayo graduated from Camden High School in 1962. Her brother married his sister, but ironically, Trudy Mayo and Mr. Mayo had not met at the wedding.
In the years that followed, they crossed paths in the city. He asked her to a movie, and “that was it,” she said. They were married for nearly 48 years. They have three children, Alissa Reed, Edward, and James. Mr. Mayo is also survived by his stepmother, Yvonne Mayo; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
“He was a fantastic father,” Trudy Mayo said, recalling that her husband was an umpire from the time his children played in Little League. He was also loyal to the Eagles and Phillies, whether they won or lost, she said.
In 1968, Mr. Mayo joined the Camden Fire Department, where he had many friends. As a young firefighter, Mr. Mayo had to quickly learn the job as racial tensions grew and riots erupted in Camden in 1969 and 1971, with numerous buildings set on fire. In 1971, 15 major fires had been set before authorities could restore order.
“We would go from one place to another trying to get control of these fires,” said retired firefighter Dan Galasso, who joined the department at the same time as Mr. Mayo. They remained friends after retirement. “He was an outstanding firefighter.”
Mr. Mayo worked the busiest station houses, and was respected and well-liked as a firefighter and a commander, Galasso said. As a captain, he was assigned to Engine 7, which included South Whitman Park and Parkside.
“He was very dedicated.”
One time, Galasso recalled, a fireman lost his footing on a slate roof. He was sliding down, about to fall off the building. Mr. Mayo was on his way up the ladder and grabbed his coworker. “He stopped him from falling three stories,” Galasso said.
Trudy Mayo said her husband “saved quite a few lives.”
In one instance, Mr. Mayo was lucky to escape with his life.
In 1984, while serving as a captain, he entered a basement on North Second Street to turn off the electricity after firefighters had extinguished an arson fire. He was surprised by a man who attacked him with a bayonet. Mr. Mayo was stabbed numerous times but was protected by his fire gear from serious wounds. He received six stitches to his hand.
At the hospital, the captain was told the man had lost his wife to cancer six months earlier and had set the house on fire in a suicide attempt. He was to be prosecuted for the assault on Mr. Mayo, his wife recalled, but Mr. Mayo insisted he did not want the man charged.
“I’m not prosecuting that man -- he has suffered enough,” Trudy Mayo said her husband decided, despite pressure from law enforcement authorities.
Years later, her husband retired after extinguishing fires and finding too many bodies in vacant buildings used as drug houses, she said.
He turned to a different profession, bartending at what had been a favorite watering hole for firefighters and police, the now-closed Bailey’s Bar & Grill in Haddon Township. Galasso described his friend as a good bartender and good listener.
“He didn’t talk much, but when he did, he was quite knowledgeable,” Galasso said.
A viewing for Mr. Mayo will be Friday, March 24, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Bell-Hennessy Funeral Home, 420 S. Main St., Williamstown, followed by services and cremation. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in honor of Mr. Mayo to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tenn., 38105, or at www.stjude.org . Condolences may be sent to bell-hennessy.com. .
|Camden Courier-Post * March 22, 2017|
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