Giving Back

West Orange High School Student Displays Exceptional Act of Kindness

385cb9711a44d8415414_ec024bcb2a6ece4926d7_buzz_1.JPG
The Gustavsons and Justin Davis Credits: Buzz1441
41baaa59e1a491edff30_6c3f9b2349e5d92ff683_perry_1.JPG
Justin Davis is honored and meets the Gustavson family. Credits: Buzz1441
891f4a188d800bf713b0_citrus.JPG
385cb9711a44d8415414_ec024bcb2a6ece4926d7_buzz_1.JPG

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Amid the chaos that took place on Thursday, Feb. 18, as buses were running late to arrive at West Orange High School, due to heavy traffic, a fire, and power outages which ended up closing the high school and Pleasantdale Elementary School that day, one West Orange High School junior, Justin Davis, learned of a situation on another bus that needed attention, and went out of his way to display compassion and kindness.

When West Orange mother, Denise Gustavson, posted in the West Orange 411 Facebook page that she needed to contact her special needs son who was stuck on one of the dormant buses, Davis came to her rescue by getting off his bus, checking on the boy, and contacting his mom to assure her that her son was alright.  

While this might seem like a simple act, Davis’ portrayal of kindness not only touched the Gustavson family, but the entire community.

Sign Up for E-News

Members of the Facebook group followed the mother’s request, offered suggestions, and ultimately reveled in the resolve Davis offered. It was live action heroism via social media.

Following the resolution to the situation, resident and group member, Marci Echeverria wrote, “Okay, maybe I'm extra emotional…but that whole Justin/Denise conversation made me burst into tears. I don't know either of you, but Justin—you totally rock. Totally and completely. Now somebody hand me a tissue.”

Carol Anne Holland, another resident and group member added, “Justin, I hope if any of my kids are ever having trouble they have a kid like you on their side helping out! It may seem like no big deal, but to a worried mama bear your reassurances were huge.”

“I am proud to live in West Orange, especially after reading this thread,” wrote resident Eileen Ippolito.

Gustavson added, “It definitely helped knowing that someone was trying to check on David for me. Thankfully he was fine.”

She added, “My mother in law has a needlepoint that has always touched me. It says something like ‘Be kind to strangers. You never know who is an angel in disguise.’ I guess Justin is one of them. A very sweet young man.”

When members of the Facebook group learned that Davis was raising money through a GoFundme campaign to fund a drum tour, they came together to help him raise $1,950—that very same day.

In fact, on Feb. 18, Barry Geltzeiler‎, a member of the page wrote, “Justin Davis hit his goal. The young man paid it forward by helping Denise Gustavson's son without looking for anything in return. Well WO thanks you Justin, go enjoy Drum Camp and continue to make us proud.”

Group member Janice Berman then posted, “Love our community! Enjoy camp Justin, you've certainly earned it, along with the respect of your neighbors.”

Davis told TAP, “What I did wasn’t for the money or the acknowledgement. It was just to help a parent and child in need.”

He added, “I know if my mother was in the same situation, she would have wanted someone to help her get in touch with her son. To me, it was second nature to help someone in need.”

Davis was also recognized for his act of kindness by the West Orange Board of Education and Superintendent on Monday evening at the BOE meeting.

President of the WOBOE, Laura Lab, wrote, “His spontaneous and unassuming act of compassion and kindness speaks volumes as to the core of his character.”

Member of the West Orange 411 page, Carol Anne Holland‎, posted live from the BOE meeting, stating, “Justin Davis being honored at BOE meeting. I never cry in public. I'm tearing up now listening to Denise Gustavson describe how her son was helped by another student last week. Thank you Justin Davis.”

Later, Suzanne Pennell, another member of the page wrote, “I cried too. Justin Davis, you truly are an awesome young man. Denise Gustavson, I can only imagine how you were feeling last week and I am so glad Justin was there to help you and your son. So proud.”

In addition, after the meeting, Lab posted to the page too writing, “I too was very moved and it was difficult to hold it together as I ran the meeting. It was difficult as I too have a ‘David’ and I have walked in Denise's shoes many times hoping that someone as caring and compassionate as Justin reached out to help my son.”

Davis, however, is not only compassionate, but also talented and dedicated to his academics. In addition, was also enterprising and helpful this winter, by offering to help shovel show for residents.

In addition, Davis has a band called Citrus that plays and sings mostly soul, jazz, funk, and gospel. The group has played at several town events including the recent Martin Luther King, Jr., event and the Feb. 19th Black History Month Dinner at West Orange High School. The band is comprised of trombonists Tahir Springer and Alex Frey, saxophonists Ryan Goodman and Austin Jackson, keyboardist Nick Mongelli,  guitarists Josh Winik and Sam Klein, and lead singer Gabriella Rodriguez.

In addition, thanks to the generosity of the community, Davis will indeed be going on tour this summer to march for Drum Corps International (DCI), a non-profit governing body for junior drum and bugle corps in the U.S. and Canada. He will be marching with the Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps as a tenor drummer. Their first competition will take place on July 1, in Clifton, NJ.

Anita Calmday is a student at West Orange High School Student participating in a journalism program with TAPinto.net.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Brunswick

Vets4Warriors Gives Struggling Veterans a Lifeline

February 18, 2018

Fatima Aguilar’s first day on the job at Vets4Warriors was anything but normal. A military veteran who’s currently enlisted as a Second Lieutenant with the New Jersey National Guard, she found herself in a potential suicide crisis situation as soon as she hit the phones.

“I started around three and a half years ago on the overnight shift, and my very first call was a US ...

South Brunswick: Volunteer Soccer Coach Charged With Possessing And Distributing Child Pornography

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – A volunteer youth soccer coach and former Sunday school teacher is charged with possessing and distributing child pornography, officials said Thursday.

FBI agents and local law enforcement arrested Waldo Milla-Guerra, 49, at his Kendall Park home Thursday morning after executing a search warrant, officials said.

Milla-Guerra, a volunteer soccer coach with the ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

Guest Column

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The ...

Diegnan: Computer Science Now Required in New Jersey Schools

February 23, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick Diegnan to require school districts to offer course in computer science and Department of Education to adopt changes to NJ Student Learning Standards in computer science has been signed into law.

 

“To flourish in tomorrow’s digital economy and society, our children should be learning computer ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, March 4, 3:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick

Staatskapelle Weimar

Arts & Entertainment

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

Motown the Musical

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, April 7, 2:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Arts & Entertainment

East Brunswick Public Library Holds South Asian Community Day of Wellness

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ— On Saturday, March 3, Cancer Support Community Central NJ Jersey (CSCCNJ) will be hosting a Day of Wellness at the East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center, ). This program is part of CSCCNJ’s South Asian outreach initiative, which is made possible by the Shri Krishna Nidhi (SKN) Foundation.

The Day of Wellness is being offered at no ...

Library Hosts Program On Joint Replacement Surgery

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ—East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center) and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital partner to present the special medical program “Considering Total Joint Replacement in 2018” at the library on Tuesday, March 6 at 7 pm.

Lead by board certified orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Stephen Kayiaros, the program gives a brief overview of arthritis of ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)

 

Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

EBPD: Safeguarding Students, Staff, and Residents in the Public Schools

February 20, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - The East Brunswick Police Department, in cooperation with the East Brunswick Board of Education, will be assisting the school security staff by providing police officers at our township public schools. It is the goal of the East Brunswick Police Department and the East Brunswick Board of Education to safeguard our students, staff and residents at our schools on a daily basis ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...