Photos courtesy of Al Bianchi
Our Marple friends & neighbors know that Broomall is a special place to live. Our hometown pride not only comes from knowing we have fantastic schools and wonderful locally owned shops and restaurants, but we also know it’s the people who are the glue that holds our community together. Resident Al Bianchi is one of those people giving back to our community.
For the past several years, Al has been serving and protecting our community as the Fire Police Captain. The Fire Police work closely with the Marple Township Police Department (MTPD) and Broomall Fire Company (BFC) when special calls come in and also during parades, functions, fairs and other special events. Their primary responsibility is to ensure a safe and unobstructed area for firefighters, rescue personnel and emergency vehicles and to provide spectator and crowd control. The unit was developed as a specialized group that helps coordinate automobile and pedestrian traffic in and around an active fire or law enforcement emergency scene.
As Captain, Al’s responsibilities are to coordinate Fire Police activities at any incident. “The challenge is to ensure the safety for all the first responders and the public,” explained Al. “With limited volunteers who serve as Fire Police, this can often be challenging.” Al joined the Fire Police in 2013 as a way to give back to the community and help support the Fire Company. “It’s been a great way to stay active by helping and
meeting people and serving the Marple Township community,” he said. “I especially love the camaraderie I have with the other officers.”
Prior to his role as the Fire Police Captain, Al had a long and successful career with Sunoco as a manager in the aviation department. “Not only did I love the job, but it also gave me the opportunity to travel across the country, sometimes even on a private jet,” he recalled fondly. Al wanted to keep busy after retirement, and in addition to his role with the Fire Police, he found a second career working in property management for Drexelbrook Apartments in Drexel Hill. Despite only wanting a part-time job, Al said he couldn’t say no when the owner offered him the job as head of the maintenance department, a role he had enjoyed for many years.
When Al is not serving the community through the Fire Police, he can be found working on or driving one of his classic cars. A lifetime member of the Historical Car Club of Pennsylvania, Al keeps a 1967 and a 2019 Corvette in the garage attached to his house. Al said he’d loved cars ever since he learned how to drive. “I’m definitely a Corvette guy!”
What Al is most proud of is the beautiful family he created with his wife of 48 years, Adele. Al met Adele when he was 19 years old outside the Springfield Mall. Al laughed when he told the story of how he and his buddy almost ran into Adele’s car in the parking lot. “She didn’t seem very happy with us,” Al explained. “But we invited ourselves to tag along with Adele and her friend for lunch.” That day Al told Adele he would marry her, and a year later, his prediction came true when the two exchanged vows. Al and Adele lived in Havertown for 28 years, where they raised their children Al, Jr. and Andria. While Al worked at Sunoco, Adele owned and ran a successful hair salon called Shear Elegance in Middletown.
Once their children had finished college and left the nest, Al and Adele decided to move to an area they had been fond of, Broomall. Since 2009, there were so many unusual coincidences that made us find this home when we were looking for homes in Broomall we couldn’t pass it up,” explained Al. “We found our dream home on Marshall Drive and learned that it had a lot of ties with a friend of mine, Robert Marshall, who had passed away as we found the home. The day we looked at the house, there was also an owl outside in the bird bath.” Al and Adele took it as a sign and moved into the home in 2009.
Sadly, Adele passed away in July 2021 after a six-year battle with cancer. For six years, Al cared lovingly for Adele and said he’s grateful for his children, who supported him and helped care for their mom during her illness. Al is adjusting to life without his beloved Adele but is thankful to have his daughter with him and his son and his family nearby. Al, Jr. works as an Operations Supervisor for Energy Transfer and still lives in Havertown with his wife Andrea and their two sons, Nathaniel and Gabriel. Al’s daughter Andria works at Upper Darby High School, where she has been an English teacher for 18 years. Also keeping Al company is his loyal Yorkie, Maya. Thank you, Al, for sharing your story and for your commitment to the Marple community.