Unity Tour Honoring Fallen Police Makes Stop In Ocean County

Hundreds of law enforcement officers biked into downtown Toms River as part of the annual Police Unity Tour stopping to pay tribute to two officers from Ocean County. (Photo courtesy Ocean County)

  TOMS RIVER – Hundreds of police officers riding bicycles traveled through the township’s downtown district as part of the annual Police Unity Tour, stopping to honor two officers from Ocean County who made the ultimate sacrifice.

  “It was our honor to have the Ocean County Justice Complex on Hooper Avenue chosen by the Police Unity Tour to host its Rose Ceremony,” Ocean County Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy said. “The County has performed this function in the past.”

  “This year the Rose Ceremony honored Sgt. Matthew Horton of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office whose end of watch was Feb. 22, 2022 and Captain Joseph Goertz of the Lakewood Police Department whose end of watch was Oct. 31, 2021,” Mastronardy added.

  The simple but solemn ceremony featured Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Craig Johnson as master of ceremonies. It included family members and friends of the officers with loved ones being presented with gold roses from representatives of the Unity Tour and their respective police departments. The Ocean County Board of Commissioners issued proclamations honoring the fallen.

 “We are here today to express our deepest appreciation to Sgt. Horton and to Capt. Goertz, and to their loved ones and colleagues,” Commissioner Gary Quinn remarked.

Photo courtesy Ocean County

  “While Sgt. Horton provided 15 years of service to the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office and Captain Goertz, 23 years of service to the Lakewood Police Department, we cannot quantify the good they have done simply in time. Rather, we know that their service to law enforcement came with compassion, concern, courage and character,” Quinn added.

  Quinn serves as liaison to the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office and he was joined by his Board colleagues, Director Joseph H. Vicari, and Commissioners Virginia E. Haines and Barbara Jo Crea in presenting the Board’s proclamations.

Deputy Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners Gary Quinn addresses the attendees at the May 9 Rose Ceremony held at the Ocean County Justice Complex, which is part of the annual Police Unity Tour. (Photo courtesy Ocean County)

  “As the Unity Tour completes its ride this year, the legacies of Sgt. Horton and Capt. Goertz will receive a place in our nation’s history that they rightly deserve at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial,” Quinn said. “They served and sacrificed for a purpose far greater than themselves.”

  Morgan Blann of Brick Township was also honored during the ceremony by survivors John Tobias, Denise Tobias and Lisa Preslar, for her ongoing efforts to raise awareness and honor fallen officers or firefighters as part of Running 4 Heroes, a charitable organization, started in 2019, that provides help to first responders.

  Upon the conclusion of the Rose Ceremony the riders mounted their bikes and headed to their next destination.