State of New Jersey
Executive Order #129

Acting Governor Richard J. Codey

WHEREAS, Firefighter Gary Stephens was a native of the City of Elizabeth, who later moved to Bayville, New Jersey with his wife, Natalie; and

WHEREAS, inspired by his father, who served the public as an Elizabeth firefighter for over two decades, Firefighter Gary Stephens joined the Elizabeth Fire Department in 1980; and

WHEREAS, Firefighter Stephens served with distinction for twenty-eight years and earned a valor award in 1999 for saving the historic Second Presbyterian Church from destruction during a devastating fire that year; and

WHEREAS, on January 2, 2009, in the City of Elizabeth in Union County, Firefighter Stephens, at the age of 57, made the ultimate sacrifice, giving his life while fighting a fire that destroyed one house and damaged a neighboring home, and

WHEREAS, Gary Stephens’ selfless devotion to public service and the protection of others makes him a hero and a true role model for all New Jerseyans and, therefore, it is appropriate and fitting for the State where he was born and raised to recognize his remarkable commitment to the welfare of others, to mark his untimely passing, to remember his family as they mourn their tragic loss, and to honor his memory;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICHARD J. CODEY, Acting Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

  1. The flag of the United States of America and the flag of New Jersey shall be flown at half-staff at all State departments, offices, agencies, and instrumentalities during appropriate hours on Thursday, January 8, 2009, in recognition of the life and in mourning of the passing of Firefighter Gary Stephens.

  2. This Order shall take effect immediately.

GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 6th day of
January Two Thousand and Nine, and of the
Independence of the United States, the Two
Hundred and Thirty-Third.

/s/ Richard J. Codey
Acting Governor [seal]


/s/ William J. Castner, Jr.
Chief Counsel to the Governor