On Friday evening the Scotch Plains Fire Department held a going away party for one of their own, Joe Rodrigues, a Major in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Rodrigues, a volunteer Firefighter in Scotch Plains since 2007, will be leaving for six months to conduct Theatre Security Cooperation in a region of Africa.
However, this will not be Rodrigues' first time oversees.
He was deployed in 2003 for Operation Iraqi Freedom as an Air Space Operation Manager. In 2010, Rodrigues was deployed to Mozambique, Africa, for humanitarian assistance.
Rodrigues joined the Marines in 2000 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in August of the same year.
Eventually he was assigned a Military Occupational Speciality(MOS) as an Air Defense control office in Yuma, Arizona for four years.
Following his tour in Iraq, Rodrigues left active duty in 2004 to pursue a career in employee benefit consulting.
He has worked for companies such as, Aon Consulting and Towers Perrin. Currently, he is employed by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Since 2008, Rodrigues has been an Infantry Officer in the 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines, after getting a new MOS.
Rodrigues mentioned that he was not the only member of the Scotch Plains Fire Department to be deployed.
Firefighter, Marlon Mattos, was deployed in Iraq for eight months in 2009. He spent seven years in the U.S. Air Force as a civil engineer.
Mattos still serves as a civil engineer in the New Jersey International Guard. He is currently studying Finance at Drew University, where he is looking into a career in investments once he completes his degree.