HELMETTA, NJ - Like father like son; Monday's Helmetta Hometown Heroes' spotlight shines on Kevin and Robert Gunther. Both men work at Centrastate Medical Center in Freehold and have been on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis from the beginning. The pair also put their jobs ahead of their own personal well-being.
For 36 years, Kevin Gunther Sr. and his wife have resided in the borough. He is the head of Environmental Services at Centrastate. Along with his team, Gunther works to make sure the doctors, nurses, hospital staff and of course the patients have a clean, safe building. Despite having his own health issues, Gunther does not slow down and makes it a point to be at the hospital on a daily basis to lead his team.
"He's my dad by chance, but my hero by choice," shared his daughter Lorraine.
The apple does not fall far from the tree as the expression goes. Robert Gunther shares his father's dedication and drive. He is the operator at Centrastate and one of his primary responsibilities is calling critical codes over the hospital's internal communications system. Before the current coronavirus crisis, Gunther would sometimes sleep at the hospital when storms were in the forecast to ensure he would be there for work the following day. The coronavirus threat has not altered his diligence. When the operator team was shorthanded, he put off a scheduled vacation to pitch in during the COVID-19 state of emergency.
Borough Mayor Chris Slavicek began putting the spotlight on Helmetta's Hometown Heroes last weekend. Slavicek wants to highlight local individuals who are on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis such as first responders, healthcare workers and essential employees. The first two Helmetta Hometown Heroes, David Rosofsky and Amber Shapter, were nominated by family members.
To nominate a Helmetta Hometown Hero, residents can email Slavicek at email@example.com. Nominations should include the person's name, a brief description of their job, what makes them a hometown hero and a photograph.