MIDDLETOWN, NJ:  On Tuesday, February 18, at 7pm, the Middletown Township Committee Meeting at the Courtroom was packed!  It was standing room only. The walls were lined with Middletown's Finest. The seating and back foyer area was full of community members. The agenda was a busy one, with many celebratory items. The full committee was present; Mayor Perry, Deputy Mayor Fiore, Committeeman Hibell, Committeeman Settembrino and Committeewoman Snell.

The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Monmouth County Freeholder Deputy Director Sue Kiley, followed by a moment of silence to 'honor the troops serving worldwide defending our Constitutions, Freedoms, and Way of Life'. 

February 9th marked New Jersey's 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women's constitutional right to vote (the national anniversary is August 2020). Women serving in government elected office were in attendance at the meeting and recognized: Monmouth County Clerk, Christine Hanlon, Assembly Woman Serena DiMaso, Freeholder Deputy Director Sue Kiley, Freeholder Lillian Burry, Monmouth County Surrogate Rosemarie Peters and Committeewoman Patricia Snell. History was celebrated and respected at the meeting, as The Centennial of Women’s Right to Vote offers an unparalleled opportunity to honor a milestone of democracy.

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VIDEO: Monmouth County Clerk Christine Hanlon stood at the podium, facing the dais. Hanlon read into the microphone the 19th amendment to the constitution, the passage providing women with the right to vote: 

On behalf of the Middletown Mayor Perry and Middletown Committee, Monmouth County Surrogate Rosemarie Peters, also a former Middletown Mayor read the Proclamation celebrating NJ's ratification of the 19th Ammendment to the Constitution. Peters gave a little local history commenting that she did not need to break the glass ceiling as female mayor in Middletown, because Olga Boeckel was Middletown's First Female Mayor before her, and she was the second. (Boeckel passed in 2012 at 91 years of age.) 

Next Township Committeewoman Pat Snell recognized 6 Middletown elementary-school-aged girls for their recent achievements demonstrating leadership, commitment and passion.  Committeewoman Snell invited the young ladies to the front of the room on behalf of the entire committee, and they each briefly spoke about their community service and what inspired their hard work:

Finley Elias, a 4th grade student at Lincroft Elementary School, raised over a whopping $17,000! All in less than a month to benefit a koala hospital in Australia. She created a logo featuring the word “Love” with a koala hugging a tree as the “L” and put the logo on t-shirts, hoodies and other items. Finley and her family sold these items at Lincroft Elementary, Bayshore Middle School, where her sister Briella attends, and Monroe Township Middle School where her mom Katy teaches.

Nut Swamp Elementary School 5th grader Marlowe Schorr initiated raising funds with her classmates Mia Collins, Emma Merces, Lilah Nicosia and Marlowe Schorr. Together they raised close to $2500 selling homemade crafts like bracelets, candles and art. They also sold baked goods at their holiday fundraising shop for the Monmouth Country SPCA.  They donated their monies raised to St. Jude's Children's Hospital and Monmouth County SPCA. 

All of the girls above said they were inspired to help the world by "their love for animals-all animals big and small."

Brenna McCormick, a 3rd grader at Bayview Elementary School, was chosen to be one of the girls featured on new Thanks-A-Lot Girl Scout cookie boxes. This achievement was based on her cookie sales, and an application she submitted about her experience as a Girl Scout. Brenna was unable to attend the meeting however TAPinto Middletown interviewed Brenna last month, and you can read about Brenna in the TAPinto article here. 

The next part of the meeting was Promotions of Law Enforcement, honoring the brave women and men who made Middletown the number one safest town in the state, in 2019. 

History was made at the meeting when Sgt. Kimberly Best was officially sworn in as the first female Lieutenant in the 92 years of Middletown PD history. Best grew up with 4 family members serving as law enforcement officers.  

VIDEO: Watch Mayor Tony Perry officiating the promotion of Sgt. Kimberly Best to Lieutenant: 

Each individual swearing in was just as special as the next. There were seven in all. One after the other, each officer surrounded by family members, held their right hand up and their left hand on the Bible, as Mayor Tony Perry Administered the oath of office, followed by the loud clapping of the audience. The promotions were as follows: Deputy Chief of Police Lt. John Kaiser and Det. Lt. Paul Bailey were both promoted to Deputy Chief of Police. Sgt. Antonio Ciccone was promoted to Lieutenant, Ptl. Stephanie Burke, to Sergeant, Ptl. Christopher Dee to Sergeant, and Ptl. David Ringkamp to Sergeant. Middletown Police Chief praised and thanked each officer who was promoted. 

After the promotions, the meeting took a five-minute break before getting down to business with the rest of the agenda items.