Committee marks Heart Month

It also named holiday decorating contest winners and promoted an officer

Joseph Metz/The Sun
William Murphy, his family by his side, is sworn in to the rank of captain by Mayor Robert Zimmerman (left).

The Mantua Committee presented two proclamations to township resident and promoted a police officer during its Feb. 12 meeting.

A couple of dozen people attended the session, which kicked off with a proclamation announcing February as Heart Month in the township to raise awareness for heart health. It was presented to Mantua resident Jim Atkins, a heart disease survivor who was accompanied to the meeting by his wife Robin.

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“I would say the only thing that’s important to know is that it’s hereditary, it’s your parents,” said Atkins. “My dad suffered from heart problems and two of my brothers. That’s one of the keys in addition to diet, managing stress and all those things.”

To Mayor Robert Zimmerman, the proclamation was personal; he too has suffered from heart problems in the past.

“Each year we do a proclamation in the township of Mantua,” he explained. “Twelve years ago, I underwent emergency, open-heart surgery when I was a police chief in a municipality here in Gloucester County.

“The reason I bring this up – and I put it out in the forefront – is because I was like a lot of people, in denial and thought I was too busy,” the mayor added. “I didn’t want to go to the doctors, kept pushing it off, and it honestly should’ve cost me my life.”

Another meeting proclamation recognized the five winners of Mantua’s first holiday house decorating contest, who were chosen by residents. First place went to the Genzel family of Church Road, who also received a $50 gift card. Second place went to the Hauss family of Ravenswood Way, and third place went to the Bradys of Sacramento Drive.

The committee also presented proclamations to two runners-up, the Scirrotto and Thurston families.

“We had 32 participants,” Zimmerman announced. “We had a nice turnout of people that wanted to light up Mantua and bring holiday spirit to our community.”

Later in the meeting, Mantua police Lt. William Murphy was sworn in and promoted to the rank of captain. He took the oath from Zimmerman and was accompanied by his wife and kids. The promotion was cited as a township resolution.

“I want to thank the committee and (police) Chief (Darren White) for putting their faith in me,” Murphy said. “Thank you to my family for being such good sports for all these years. The SWAT team is here, and I appreciate you guys coming out and how you always have my back.

“Thank you to the guys at the PD (police department),” he added. “You guys are really kicking butt, and it’s not going unnoticed. We really appreciate all the hard work and effort you guys put in every day to make the town as good as it is.”

The next Mantua committee meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, March 11.

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