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Home Featured ‘They do so much for our community’

‘They do so much for our community’

‘They do so much for our community’
Photo courtesy of Hopewell Township 2024 Mayor's Awards at the Woolsey Park Bandshell in Hopewell Township on May 11.

It was a host of firsts in Woolsey Park as Hopewell Valley first responders were honored in the inaugural Mayor’s Awards, a newly constructed bandshell officially opened, and the first Cultural Festival took place on May 11.

The ceremonies and day included all three Hopewell Valley municipalities – Hopewell Township, Pennington, Hopewell Borough.

“I was thrilled with how the Mayor’s Awards, dedication ceremony, and cultural festival went on Saturday,” said Hopewell Township Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning, who established the Mayor’s Awards to honor the heroic efforts of first responders.

“I thought it was important to honor individuals in all of our divisions of first responders: police, fire (both volunteer and career), EMS, and public works,” she added.  “They do so much for our community every day that it was right that we take a moment to thank all of them for all that they do as well as recognize truly exceptional leadership and service.”

Peters-Manning said as the Township Committee liaison to both the Hopewell Township Police Department and fire district, she had been thinking for a while about a way to honor Hopewell Township first responders.

After talking with the respective chiefs and Public Works Director George Snyder, the idea formed for the Mayor’s Awards.

“The Woolsey Park Advisory Committee separately had suggested that we dedicate the Bandshell to the Valley’s first responders, and so when Committee member Michael Ruger mentioned that to me, it seemed like coupling the dedication with the Mayor’s Awards was a natural fit,” Peters-Manning explained.

As conversations expanded to bring all of Hopewell Valley first responders together, Joe Novak, vice chair for the Hopewell Township Fire District Board of Fire Commissioners, suggested the township reach out to Pennington and Hopewell Borough to be part of the ceremony.

“I jumped on the opportunity,” Peters-Manning said. “I was very happy that both Mayor Ryan Kennedy from Hopewell Borough and Mayor Jim Davy from Pennington joined us and honored members of their first responder divisions.”

Additionally, a big part of the day was the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the Woolsey Park Bandshell.

Photo courtesy of Hopewell Township Ribbon cutting of the Woolsey Park Bandshell with local officials, state legislators, and county officials.

In 2022, the township received a $500,000 state grant to build the bandshell that was supported by State Sen. Shirley Turner, Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli, and Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, all (D-15).

“I am very happy that the Woolsey Park Bandshell is ready to be used,” Ruger said. “It was great to see the first performer—a harpist—immediately after the ribbon cutting. I hope there will be many more performances in the months and years ahead.”

Ruger had pushed for the bandshell and for the effort to get the project started and completed.

“I am grateful to so many people who made the Bandshell possible,” he said, thanking the state dignitaries for obtaining the funding so the township could build the bandshell.

“The Woolsey Park Advisory Committee members provided crucial research, guidance and suggestions.

“Many thanks to Committee Chair Russ Graznow and resident volunteers Mike Chipowsky, Jim Gambino, Carol Lipson and Chris Pazdan, as well as Karin Poveromo and Dave Guerard from the township.

“Jim Hutzelmann, our director of Community Development and township engineer, oversaw the RFP (request for proposal) process and construction. And George Snyder, our township administrator, helped to make it all happen.

“Without these people, we would not have the Bandshell,” Ruger added.

Here is the full list of 2024 Mayor’s Awards recipients from Hopewell Township, Pennington and Hopewell Borough:

Hopewell Township Public Works
Recipient: David Guerard, assistant director of Public Works

Hopewell Township Police Department (HTPD)
Recipient: Officer Michael Crincoli

Union Fire & Rescue Squad
Recipient: President Peter Swanson

Hopewell Valley Emergency Services
Recipient: Emergency Services Specialist John Schafer

Pennington Police Department (awarded by Pennington Borough Mayor Jim Davy)
Chief Doug Pinelli
Sgt. Daryl Burroughs, Jr.
Sgt. Novin Thomas
Detective Daniel D’Ascoli
Police officer Mark Caruso
Police officer Leo Friedman
Police officer Gerard Sinnott

Pennington Fire Company (awarded by Pennington Borough Mayor Jim Davy)
Recipient: Anthony DiCocco

Hopewell Fire Department (awarded by Hopewell Borough Mayor Ryan Kennedy)
EMS Recipient: Lt. Luke Morehouse
Fire Recipient: Chief John Novak Sr.