RARITAN TWP., NJ - James J. Casey, who lives in the township, is this year’s recipient of Hunterdon Drug Awareness Program’s Frank P. Masterson Award.

The non-profit Flemington-based agency, which provides a variety of substance abuse education and treatment services, presents the award to a community member in recognition of outstanding efforts to fight drug abuse.

Casey founded the Minalex Corp. in Whitehouse Station, a manufacturer of miniature close-tolerance aluminum extrusions, in 1965. He is a 20-year board member and past president of HDAP.

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Casey has been involved in numerous other community activities. He coached Little League baseball for eight years in addition to coaching Pop Warner football, and was president of its Flemington-area division for 25 years. He was also active in the Flemington-Raritan Parks & Recreation Commission for 25 years.

In selecting Casey for the award, the current HDAP board noted that in 2001-2002 the agency endured fiscal hardship and it was through the leadership of both him and past board member Michael Griffin - also a Masterson Award recipient - that it was steered back into being a fiscally sound, vital resource for the community.

Jim and his wife, Bobbi, are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year. They have four children, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Daughter Vicki and daughter-in-law Tracie are involved with HDAP in various capacities.

The predecessor to HDAP was formed after the drug-related deaths of 12 young people in the Lambertville area in the '70s. Masterson, then the Lambertville police chief, and other community leaders realized there was a need for a substance abuse program in the area.

A large agency based in Atlantic City called Narco - later called the Institute for Human Development - helped them open a satellite treatment program in Lambertville in 1977 and as services expanded, so did area support and interest. In 1981 HDAP was incorporated as an independent treatment and prevention agency serving Hunterdon County and surrounding areas under a local board of directors. It moved to Flemington in 1984

The presentation to Casey took place during HDAP’s 11th Client Graduation Dinner on April 5 at Razberry’s in Kingwood Township. The 2015 Masterson Award recipient, Cheryl Copeland of Delaware Township, made the award presentation to him.

Assemblyman Erik Peterson spoke to the graduates about their accomplishments, and about Casey regarding his award. Casey was also presented with citations from Congressman Leonard Lance of Clinton Township and Gov. Chris Christie.

HDAP Executive Director Glenn Duncan addressed the crowd, talking about fundraising efforts to help the organization continue to fulfill its mission. Clinical Director Jass Pelland spoke to the graduates, urging them to continue to keep their recovery efforts in the forefront, and to give back what they received from others. It is through continued giving back and helping others that people help to keep their own recovery efforts ever present and strong, she noted.