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First responders lace on ice skates to rally around one of their own

TOMS RIVER- A special hockey game was recently played at Winding River Ice Rink.

On Jan. 5, at the ice rink in Toms River, members of the Berkeley Township, Manchester Township, and Toms River Township Police Department’s took on the Toms River Blackhawks coaching staff for a hockey game to benefit a Berkeley Township EMT, Megan Franzoso.

“We were approached by Manchester Police Chief Lisa Parker to see if we were interested in doing a joint fundraiser for Megan Franzoso between Manchester PD, Toms River PD, Berkeley PD and our respective union representatives. We all enthusiastically agreed,” Toms River Police Chief Mitch Little said.

Franzoso worked in various Ocean County communities.

“Megan (Franzoso) was a Community Service Officer with the Toms River paid EMT program under the direction of Paul Daley and Kevin Monaghan. We always try to take care of our family members past or present whenever we can,” Little said.

Franzoso worked with the Silverton EMS where many of her family members work and she also worked part-time for the Tri-Boro First Aid squad located in Seaside Park.

On Sept. 14, Franzoso went into cardiac arrest at the Community Medical Center in Toms River.

According to her family, when her pulse returned, she was airlifted to Temple University Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pa. She was in critical condition and on life support in a medically induced coma. Franzoso was then transferred to a rehabilitation center to learn how to walk and speak again.

She was released from the rehabilitation center on Nov. 17 and is able to walk with assistance and say a few words. She is back at her home in Toms River.

Faced with costly care this event was organized to help support Franzoso and her recovery. All donations go directly to Megan Franzoso.

“It is very important for all first responders to band together for charitable and worthwhile causes. We all have the same purpose when it comes to helping our community and those in need. It’s a force multiplier and makes it possible to have a larger impact,” Little said.

The Manchester Police Department organized the charity hockey game.

Manchester Police Department spokesman Capt. Todd Malland said “The support was tremendous for the event. It reached its intended goal. We rallied the community. It was really great to see.”

A gofundme page that was set up by her friends and family has raised more than $30,000 of a $50,000 goal to help Megan.

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