By John Burton
LITTLE SILVER – Opposites may attract, but for Peter and Elizabeth Giblin, it is their similarities and their desire to give to their community that brings them even closer together.
“It definitely strengthened our relationship,” said Elizabeth.
Elizabeth, better known as Liz, 25, and Pete, 27, who have been married all of two years this May, are heading up the borough’s emergency services – a first in the borough for a married couple, they said.
Pete, a police officer with the Little Silver Police Department since 2010, has been a volunteer with fire department since 2005 and was a fire cadet for four years prior to that. A third generation member of both the police and fire departments, Pete was sworn in on Jan. 1 as fire chief.
Liz took over as head of the emergency medical services when she was named as this year’s captain. She has been a member since 2006, and served as a cadet for two years prior to her membership.
“It’s pretty cool,” Pete said of the connection.
“I think we both enjoy the adrenaline rush,” Liz said.
For Pete, the commitment to service would appear to be in his marrow. “I don’t know anything else but community service,” having grown up with it. “I feel I have a duty to continue the family tradition.”
Liz, who has a very busy schedule clerking for a West Long Branch law firm as she works toward graduating law school this spring, said the joy she feels volunteering is both rich and rewarding. “There is no greater feeling than to know you saved someone’s life, you’ve helped them through the worst day of their life,” she said.
The tricky part, they acknowledged, can be juggling responsibilities.
As heads of their respective organizations, Pete and Liz noted that the responsibilities are more extensive than people might think. “When people think of us, they think of us out answering calls, but that’s only about 10 percent of our job, ” Liz said. “Everyone comes to you and you’re responsible for everything. It’s a huge responsibility.”
The saving grace for both is having a partner that truly understands that, they said.
They rarely have time together, given work and other time commitments.
“It’s a novelty that we actually get to sit down together,” Liz said.
But, when they do, it is a benefit to have someone who can appreciate what your day or night was like.
“Our pillow talk is often about the calls we were on,” Pete said. “I know my wife won’t get mad if I have to get up from the table to answer a call.”
Their life as heads of busy, vital organizations does require prioritizing and planning.
“There are times when the laundry doesn’t get done,” Liz said.
While the couple plans on having kids at some point, they know that will mean some additional juggling. But, neither has any plans of giving up their participation in the organizations. On the contrary, they hope to encourage others to get more involved and take the training and be available for their community, because it’s needed.
They expected that message will be passed along when they have children, they said.
“There is that satisfaction in knowing you’re helping,” Liz said.
“If your house is on fire, you’re going to want someone to show up,” Pete added.