Sayreville School District remembers Officer Chip

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SAYREVILLE – The memory of a police officer who educated students in the Sayreville School District for more than a decade will be preserved in one of the district’s schools.

A proclamation honoring the memory of Charles “Chip” Blazas was delivered to Samsel Upper Elementary School (SUES) by Blazas’ family on April 23. The proclamation was previously given to his family by the Borough Council and Mayor Kennedy O’Brien on March 11.

A patrolman in the Sayreville Police Department for 20 years, Blazas participated in Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), and served as the DARE officer for the Sayreville School District for 13 years. By his students, he was known as Officer Chip.

Blazas died on Dec. 20, 2018, at age 64.

The proclamation, which was read by his grandchildren at the March 11 meeting, states that “[Blazas] had a special quality of really caring for the well-being and making sure he would teach [the students] about drug abuse and awareness. He was always there for them, even after his retirement. Chip took great pride in his kids as they grew and had their own families. He had sincere concerns for them in the ongoing drug epidemic.”

In recognition of Blazas’ service, his work and impact were discussed by those present at SUES on April 23 before his proclamation was placed on the wall.

The speakers made note of Blazas’ presence while he was at the school.

“There was a unique energy and passion from Chip,” said Linda Smith, a guidance counselor who worked with Blazas. “He was like a rock star when he was in the building.”

Former SUES Vice Principal Bonnie Brady remarked that when Blazas entered the school’s cafeteria, the normally-loud students would become quiet.

“I watched him interact with fifth graders and they were quiet in the cafeteria when he was there,” Brady said. “They would listen and they would learn from him.”

Described as the face of the Sayreville Police Department for students and staff by SUES Principal Stacey Coglianese, Blazas was credited with helping build a relationship between the police department and the district.

“We have a strong relationship with the Sayreville Police Department because of Chip,” Superintendent of Schools Richard Labbe said.

“He would be proud of the respect shown to officers in our buildings and that was because of Chip,” said Director of Human Resources and Professional Development Edward Aguiles, who previously served as SUES principal. “He taught students to respect police and know that they were the good guys.”

Throughout his years in the district, Blazas was seen as a friend.

“He had great support for New Jersey educators,” said Gineen Morosco, a teacher at SUES. “He was friends with everyone.”

“He loved everybody,” said Clem Skarzynski, who helped arrange the meeting. “If you didn’t get along with him, something was wrong with you.”

In addition to being a friend, the speakers agreed that Blazas cared for all of his students and made a difference in their lives.

“He made a great impact,” Coglianese said. “Not only did the kids know him, the parents knew him when their kids talked about what he was teaching them.”

“I really saw the love for his kids,” Skarynski said. “The love for them was the same love he showed his family. He taught them what was right and wrong. If a kid became a statistic, he was broken up. After all he did, I guess God needed a good soul.”

“He saw potential in each child,” Smith said. “To the students he loved, he offered them words of wisdom and gave them the tools to lead a drug-free life.”

“I didn’t thank him enough,” Brady said. “He deserved so much more than the thanks I gave him. He was genuine, trusted and a role model. Students knew that he cared. With the information he provided, they were able to make a decision. I wonder how many lives he saved, but if he saved just one, that is powerful. And his children will teach their children.”

“His legacy is that his lifeblood runs through us all,” Aguiles said.