FANWOOD, NJ – On Tuesday, December 18, the last Fanwood council meeting of the year opened with a moment of silence in remembrance of the 27 children and teachers who lost their lives in the Connecticut elementary school shooting.
Emergency Management Coordinator Howard Drewes was named Volunteer of the Month for his leadership during Hurricane Sandy. “Each month we highlight a special resident in this town, people who find the time to give back to Fanwood,” said Mayor Colleen Mahr.
Drewes was a first hand responder during the crises of Hurricane Sandy. He helped to take care of residents who needed assistance, especially the elderly.
“His leadership made it so that we were not like other communities” said Mayor Mahr. She highlighted that during Hurricane Sandy, Drewes was able to keep the lines of communications open between his OEM team and the citizens in town. Residents had sent many emails and letters to the mayors’ office stating how thankful and grateful they were for the emergency responders.
Drewes was given the traditional portrait of the railroad station in town as his token of appreciation, to which he responded “No one person could have done it alone, a lot of citizens helped. It was done as a team.”
Rakshit Abichandani and Aidan Racaniello were also honored for completing the requirements for their Eagle Scout designations. December 18th will now be known as Aidan and Rakshit Day in Fanwood.
Abichandani created the first “Welcome to Fanwood” sign and was recognized for that. “Thank you Mayor Mahr for the honor and for the support” said Abichandani.
Councilman Mike Szuch commented that these young men were good role models for other young people to follow.
This was also the last official meeting for Councilman Szuch and Robert Manduca. Both have been councilmen for the past three years, and they were given the town seal with their names in it framed and a gift bag from the other council members to show their appreciation for the time the men had invested.
“They both are very good advocates for you, we don’t always agree but, that is ok. That is what democracy is all about. I have built a friendship with both of them” said Mayor Mahr.
Other items covered were the appointment of Katherine Balch and Richard Szeto as two new library board of trustees members who will each serve a five year term and the announcement that January 11 of next year will be the first Human Trafficking day in Fanwood. The town has proclaimed that day for a rally in Trenton to encourage the passing of better laws protecting people from becoming victims of human trafficking.
One of Councilman Manduca’s last public acts was to announce that there were 77 new babies born into Fanwood this year.