2011-02-02 / Front Page

Officers will compete to aid Special Olympics

BY CLARE MARIE CELANO Staff Writer

FREEHOLD — Members of the Freehold Borough Police Benevolent Association (PBA) will trade in their work uniforms for football uniforms on Feb. 13.

PBA President Patrolman Sean Healey said members of the PBA will be competing in the fifth annual New York Giants Snow Bowl to benefit Special Olympics New Jersey.

Proceeds will help Special Olympics New Jersey continue to provide free yearround sports training and athletic competition in 24 Olympic-type sports to more than 21,00 children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

“Special Olympics New Jersey is an extraordinary organization that serves a very special need in our local communities,” Healey said. “The men and women of PBA 159 are proud to support this organization’s incredible work by participating in the Snow Bowl. We look forward to a great weekend of fun on the football field for such a worthy cause.”

He said each team must pledge a $1,600 donation to Special Olympics New Jersey. The money is typically collected in donations from participating players, family, friends, and others in the community wishing to support the initiative.

Freehold Borough Patrolman Shaun Hobbs said he found out about the event in a police magazine. He said it sounded like a good idea.

“We talked about it at work and everyone seemed to like the idea,” said Hobbs, who is the team captain.

He said the team, which has been dubbed the “Boro Bashers,” has already raised $2,000 for the Special Olympics. Hobbs said 12 officers and three of their friends will participate in the flag football event at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford on Feb. 13.

In addition to Hobbs, the team is made up of the following members: Sgt. Chris Colaner, Patrolman Diego Flores, Patrick George (Freehold Borough Detective Michael George’s son), Police Dispatcher Pat Healey (brother of PBA President Sean Healey), Patrolman Nicolas Iozzi, Richard Leone, (a friend of the department), Michael Lilla, (a friend of the department), Sgt. Craig Dispenza, Patrolman Walter Perski, Patrolman James Richmond, Patrolman Brian Ruegger, Sgt. Ronnie Steppat, Sgt. Michael Sweetman and Patrolman Kevin Werner.

Patrolman Samuel Hernandez was originally part of the team but is recuperating from a foot injury. He will be out on the field on Feb. 13 to cheer on the team, according to Hobbs.

All proceeds collected by the flag football teams will benefit Special Olympics New Jersey and help foster the Special Olympics mission: “To provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympic athletes and the community.”

Local companies and residents who are interested in sponsoring the “Boro Bashers” may contact Sean Healey at shealey@freeholdboropba159.com or speak with any member of the PBA.

Healey added that PBANo. 159 does not solicit donations by telephone.

According to Healey, “The Freehold Borough PBA Local No. 159 is part of the New Jersey Police Benevolent Association. Its membership includes uniformed police officers, police supervisors and command staff of the Freehold Borough Police Department. The mission of PBANo. 159 is to ensure that the sworn members of Freehold Borough’s police department have safe and fair working conditions and an independent voice for entering into meaningful dialogues with the people of Freehold Borough on issues of mutual concern. The PBA also provides a foundation for members to give back to the community it serves by working with residents on charitable causes.”

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