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Freehold Borough mayor: Community rallied around family in time of need

Editor’s note: Freehold Borough Mayor Kevin A. Kane wrote the following letter to the community on Feb. 20, the day after an event was held to remember the life of Stephanie Parze of Freehold Township.

By Kevin A. Kane

It’s been said that the best of humanity reveals itself in the face of adversity. Last night I was honored and humbled to see the incredible display of kindness and human decency on display as we, as a united community, rallied around the Parze family as they celebrated the life of their daughter, Stephanie Parze, on what would have been her 26th birthday.

Her life was sadly cut short by a horrific incident of domestic violence. Many of you know the Parze family as part of the fabric of Freehold. Others have not yet met the family, but you cared enough to be with them as they struggled with their grief.

As the mayor of Freehold Borough, I could not be more proud of the selfless display of love shown to the Parze family. Here in Freehold Borough, we truly do take care of our own.

Mr. and Mrs. Parze were grateful for all of the law enforcement officers and volunteers who spent countless hours by their side searching for Stephanie.

When the loss of their beloved daughter was confirmed, they were obviously distraught and grief stricken, but they never lost their sense of concern for their community.

And now they are using their sadness, their empathy and their strength to help make sure no mom or dad should ever experience what they went through.

They have started the Stephanie Nicole Parze Foundation, which you will be hearing much more about in the near future, to educate families about the signs of domestic violence and to help locate missing individuals. Even in their grief they are determined to help others.

The Borough Council and I were proud to join our community to host the Candlelight Walk to Light Up the Night in Stephanie’s honor on Feb. 19.

We are grateful for the support of our local law enforcement officers, Department of Public Works employees, staff and volunteers who helped organize the logistics of the event.

We are grateful to the Monmouth County freeholders, county administrator, sheriff’s office, the county Buildings and Grounds Department and Downtown Freehold for all of their contributions to this event.

We are thankful to all of our friends and neighbors who came out and surrounded the Parze family with love and support in their time of need. Our hearts will forever reach out through space and time to Stephanie as we continue to be a strong, supportive community.

Kevin A. Kane is the mayor of Freehold Borough.

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