Good Citizens Lauded By Mayor

Girl Scouts Marley Petti, left, and Callie Rommel seen shaking hands with Manchester Township Mayor Robert Hudak, receive a proclamation in recognition to their Gold Award projects during a recent Manchester Council meeting. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  MANCHESTER – Girl Scouts, students, police and emergency medical service workers were honored by Mayor Robert Hudak, who presented them with proclamations at the start of a recent Township Council meeting.

  Police Chief Robert Dolan accepted the proclamation from the mayor for Police Appreciation Week which ran from May 11 to May 17. Robert Baran, the township director of emergency services, accepted the proclamation for National EMS Week.

  “The Manchester Police Department goes beyond the call of duty in serving the residents of our township,” Mayor Hudak said while reading the proclamation. “The good deeds performed by police officers every single day are deserving of our support, appreciation and encouragement for the challenges they face daily. Law enforcement officers play an important role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and through constant application of new procedures and techniques, our officers become more efficient in the enforcement of our laws.”

Ocean County Mayors Association scholarship recipients Michael Hudak, left, a senior class member of MATES (Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Sciences) joins Calvin Suoto, a senior class member of Manchester Township High School and Manchester Mayor Robert Hudak. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  President John Kennedy proclaimed May 15, 1962 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and that week as National Police Week, in special recognition of law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

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  “Emergency Medical Services are a vital public service and provide lifesaving care to those in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Hudak said while reading the EMS Week proclamation. “The members of emergency medical service teams, whether career or volunteer, engage in thousands of hours of specialized training and continuing education to enhance their life-saving skills.”

  Also honored were two Girl Scouts who recently received their Gold Award. This is the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. This award is presented to fewer than 6% of high school Girl Scouts annually.

   Marley Petti brought along her service dog during the session as her project involved service dogs. She realized most individuals don’t know the basics about service dogs and how to behave around them.

   By giving speeches, creating a Girl Scout fun patch program, writing a coloring book and maintaining an Instagram account, she was able to educate people about the jobs service dogs perform and how they differ from emotional support animals in how people should behave around service dogs and their handlers.

  The issue is important to her as handlers and their dogs are put at risk every day by well meaning people who try to pet or interact with dogs who are working. Marley’s project also highlighted the fact that not all disabilities are visible, as many people believe, and sometimes those with service dogs don’t have an obvious physical disability.

  Marley wants people to understand that a service animal should be considered as a piece of adaptive equipment just as you would consider a wheelchair or hearing aid. The proclamation noted “they are there to help a disabled person go about their day and lead a normal life.”

  The second Gold Award Girl Scout recipient recognized with a proclamation was Callie Rommel, whose project involved a sensory experience and the sensory needs of special needs pre-kindergarten students. In the fall of 2019, Callie was completing her silver award at Ridgeway Elementary School and recognized a need for sensory materials in a new pre-kindergarten class.

Manchester Police Chief Robert Dolan, left, receives a proclamation recognizing Police Appreciation Week from Mayor Robert Hudak during a recent Township Council meeting. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  During the COVID-19 pandemic, Callie researched and consulted with several professionals to learn about the sensory deficits experienced by children. She researched how textures, colors, sounds and manipulatives help teach children how to self-calm and focus.

  She learned how to sew and quilt and designed 30 8×8 sensory “fidget” quilts with a variety of textures and manipulatives, 354 fleece tie-blankets, 30 bean bags with different textures, four weighted lap blankets and various sensory toys.

  Assembling a team of fellow Girl Scouts and volunteers who helped her cut and sew materials and construction items, Callie also created four “Go Bags” filled with various sensory materials that teachers can use when they leave the classroom.

  After two years she presented her finished project to Ridgeway Elementary School Principal Nikki Mazur.

  The mayor also noted two students who received recognition by the Ocean County Mayors Association, Michael Hudak (who is not related to the mayor), received the Arthur P. Petracco Memorial Scholarship award as the “Mayors’ Scholar.”

Manchester Township Councilman Sam Fusaro, seated at left, joins Councilman Craig Wallis as Manchester Emergency Services Director Robert Baran accepts a proclamation for National EMS Week from Mayor Robert Hudak during a recent meeting. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  The mayor read the proclamation noting “this significant award is hereby recognized in Manchester and thus, do urge the citizens of the township to congratulate Michael Hudak. The student is a senior class member of MATES (Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Sciences).

  Calvin Suoto, a senior class member of Manchester Township High School, was also chosen as a Mayors’ Scholar and a scholarship recipient.

  The Ocean County Mayors Association started its scholarship award program in 1994 and has provided over $768,000 in individual scholarship awards to students worthy of distinction and recognition of their efforts. Recipients are chosen from their senior class of the high school or vocational technical school they attend through a recommendation of the Ocean County Superintendents Roundtable Selection Committee.