Oceanport Celebrates Its Volunteers at New Year's Ceremony
The borough's action-packed reorganization meeting on Jan. 1 included swearing-in of returning councilmen, new police officers and recognition of 'neighbors helping neighbors' following Hurricane Sandy.
The Maple Place School auditorium was packed on New Year's Day as family and neighbors gathered for the borough's annual reorganization meeting that focused on the efforts of first responders and volunteers who united in recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy.
"It was the worst of times and the best of people," newly elected Council President Joseph Irace noted during the hour-and-a-half-long ceremony on Tuesday. The devastating effects of the storm, however, were outmatched by "the goodwill and genuine humanity exhibited by the 5800 residents of Oceanport as we fought our way back to normalcy," Irace said.
Mayor Michael Mahon presented keys to the borough to a number of volunteers who worked tirelessly to help other members of the community following the storm, often despite their own Sandy-related struggles. Chris and Wendy Baggot spearheaded the shelter set up at Maple Place, which was then moved to Port Au Peck Firehouse, despite being displaced from their own home following the storm.
The mayor declared Tuesday "Ron Stubbington Day" and presented the long-time volunteer with the Mayor's Lifetime Achievement Award for his continual efforts to help others and his "tireless dedication to the borough."
Other volunteers honored with keys to the borough for their efforts following Hurricane Sandy included:
- Richard Barnes
- Christine Colaguore
- Chritina Ellam
- Jack Harris
- Jessica Herndon
- Robin Lenorth
- The Petrillo Family: Karen, Adrienne and Chris
- The Surak Family: Janet, Asa and Nadine
- Judy and Larry Seymour
- Katie McElroy
- Cecelia Russell
- Buzz Baldanza
"It was neighbors helping neighbors," said Councilman John Ibex.
Councilmen William Johnson and Gerald Bertekap, who ran unopposed for three-year terms in November, were sworn in, as were three new police officers.
Oaths of office were also administered to 2013 officers for the Oceanport Fire Department and the borough's First Aid Squad.
The borough council selected Irace to serve as its president and John O. Bennett, III to continue as Oceanport's borough attorney.