Morristown hires: One trades calculator for badge; other continues family firefighting tradition

Morristown's new career firefighter, Dan Whitehead, center, is flanked by his wife Christine and 16-month-old son Danny Jr.,; his father, Deputy Fire Chief Robert Whitehead; on the far right, his mom, Kathy Whitehead and granddad James Kling; and far right, his grandmother AnnMarie Kling, Dec. 4, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morristown's new career firefighter, Dan Whitehead, center, is flanked by his wife Christine and 16-month-old son Danny Jr.,; his father, Deputy Fire Chief Robert Whitehead; on the far right, his mom, Kathy Whitehead and granddad James Kling; and far right, his grandmother AnnMarie Kling, Dec. 4, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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For one, the career choice came as no surprise. For the other it was an about-face.

Dan Whitehead was sworn in at Tuesday’s Morristown council meeting as a career fireman, becoming the third generation of his family to serve as a firefighter.

John Sweetman, sworn in as a policeman, started his professional life in 2012 as a corporate accountant.

New Morristown Police Officer John Sweetman and his fiancée Amanda Mathus, Dec. 4, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
New Morristown Police Officer John Sweetman and his fiancée Amanda Mathus, Dec. 4, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
New Morristown Firefighter Dan Whitehead and his wife Christine, Dec. 4, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
New Morristown Firefighter Dan Whitehead and his wife Christine, Dec. 4, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Whitehead’s father, Robert Whitehead, is Morristown’s deputy fire chief. His grandfather was a volunteer fireman in North Falmouth, Mass. 

Additionally, an uncle and cousin serve on Newark’s fire department. Another uncle is retired from the Morristown department and another, from the Elizabeth department.

For four years, Dan Whitehead has volunteered with the town’s First Ward Hose Company.

New Morristown Police Officer John Sweetman and nephew Mikel Sweetman, 6, on Dec. 4, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
New Morristown Police Officer John Sweetman and nephew Mikel Sweetman, 6, on Dec. 4, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“Joining the Morristown Fire Department has been a longtime goal of Dan’s for as long as he can remember,” according to Fire Chief Robert Flanagan.

Sweetman, who grew up in Boonton Township with six siblings, moved to Morristown three years ago.

After graduating from Seton Hall University with an accounting degree, he worked in the tax departments of Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Mars Inc.

But he got a taste for public service as a volunteer fireman, first in Boonton Township during his college days, and later with Morris Township’s Woodland Company.

“Becoming a volunteer firefighter is where I found my passion for being a first responder and was the reason for making a career change to become a police officer in Morristown,” Sweetman said.

FUTURE FINEST? Mikel Sweetman, 6, at his uncle's swearing-in ceremony in Morristown, Dec. 4, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
FUTURE FINEST? Mikel Sweetman, 6, at his uncle’s swearing-in ceremony in Morristown, Dec. 4, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

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