Council recognizes Special Olympic athlete, police promotions

Resolution on Medford Village Business District approved

Medford Township Council’s July 19 meeting featured presentations to honor a local athlete and swear in six members of the police department to new positions.

Honored was township resident Henry Schuitema, a 31-year-old athlete with Down syndrome who competed in the Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida, last month. Schuitema was presented with a special proclamation for a performance that netted him seven medals in various categories and the All-Around silver medal  for overall accomplishments.

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According to his mom Sue, Henry started competing in the state games when he was 8 and was invited to compete with Team New Jersey in the national competition twice in recent years before accepting his third invitation this summer.  

The Schuitema family moved to Medford when Henry was 3, after searching for a town and school district that would offer him the best possible education and opportunities.

“Medford Township as a whole has been so wonderful over the years,” Sue said in an interview with The Sun. “It’s the reason we moved here 28 years ago. We have such wonderful stories from over the years about how the town has embraced Henry in a variety of ways. He was the first child with Down syndrome to go through Medford Township Public Schools, and I believe the first to graduate first from Shawnee High School.”

Henry said he owes much of his success to those in the community who helped him along the way.

“I would like to thank Medford Township and the New Jersey police officers for always supporting me and Special Olympics,” he said.

During another meeting presentation, Medford Police Chief Arthur Waterman swore in six members of his department to new positions.

“Some of these officers are senior and have moved into formal leadership positions, while others are still beginning their careers,” Waterman explained.  “Each of these officers has demonstrated knowledge, skills and abilities which have led them to this moment tonight.”

Included in the promotions were: James D’Averso to lieutenant; James Albertson  and Christopher CJ Walsh to sergeant; and Matthew Grubb, Daniel Matthews and Garrett Lange to patrolmen.

In other news: 

  • Council approved an ordinance that will allow individuals within the Medford Village Business District to carry alcoholic beverages purchased from breweries and restaurants within designated areas. The ordinance was first introduced at a July 5 meeting and was discussed at three  meetings earlier this year. 
  • Council discussed but did not vote on a recent proposal by the Environmental Affairs Advisory Committee (EAAC) to launch an Acorn Planting and Forest Regeneration Project that would restore a portion of the township’s owned green/open space with native species to create a new forested tract of land. The potential location is on the corner of Hartford Road and Hickory Lane.
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