Community gets behind Harrison Strong mantra

Phrase is meant to promote strength over adversity in trying times

Courtesy of Harrison Township
A house left severely damaged after the 2021 tornado that hit Mullica Hill sports a Harrison Strong sign.

The Harrison Township Committee has created a mantra to help rally the town and evoke strength over adversity: Harrison Strong.

The phrase first gained prominence in the community during COVID.

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“It began with the onset of the coronavirus,” Mayor Louis Manzo said. “Remember, in mid-March of 2020, when the government ordered a shutdown of businesses and public interaction for ‘two weeks to flatten the curve.’ Well, we all know what that led to. As a sign of hope and unity, we lit our famous Christmas tree at Old Town Hall to stand as a beacon in getting us through things. It remained lit continuously for about seven months. 

“I began writing mayor coronavirus updates in March of 2020, providing information and guidance on health and financial assistance programs that were being launched at the time,” he added. “That is when I began using the Harrison Strong nomenclature in those updates.”

Manzo recalled that at the beginning of COVID, he wrote a daily update, then expanded to three or four times a week and eventually ended up writing weekly. He estimates he put out 119 updates, with the last on June 21, 2021.

The phrase Harrison Strong came into play again after the F3 tornado that struck Mullica Hill in September of 2021. Several homes were destroyed, and the mantra helped raise community spirits and morale.

More recently, it was used to show the township’s support of the LGTBQ community during Pride Month in June. The township is also using the phrase to promote its suicide awareness and prevention week, which honors three lives lost to suicide.

The phrase has since been used in other parts of Harrison, including an early COVID video from the school district.

“We are together, we are family, we are Harrison Strong,” the video’s description says. “Harrison Township is more than street names, neighborhoods, or landmarks. It’s more than our brick-and-mortar buildings, businesses and schools. 

“Harrison Township is about family. It’s about being Harrison Strong.”

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