HIGHLAND PARK, NJ – The South Brunswick Police Honor Guard helped remember a fallen State Trooper Monday.
The intersection of North Ninth Ave. and Abbott Street where he grew up will forever be named in New Jersey State Trooper Anthony A. Raspa’s honor.
Neighbors, friends, family, police officers, and elected officials from around the state gathered today to honor his memory and to remember the impact he had in the Highland Park community.
Raspa, a State Trooper with the Hamilton Barracks was killed last May after the patrol car he was driving on I-195 in Freehold Township struck a deer before crashing into a tree. He had been a trooper for almost two years.
A full ceremony of remembrance began with the presentation of colors by The New Jersey State Police Color Guard which was accompanied by the NJ State Police Bag Pipe Unit.
Prayers of comfort were offered by Rev. Joanne Petto, the NJ State Police Chaplain. Fr. Douglas Haefner, the pastor of Raspa’s childhood church St. Matthias in Somerset, also addressed the family in prayer.
Middlesex County Freeholder, H. James Polos, a lifelong Highland Park resident, had many fond memories of Raspa and his family which he shared at the ceremony. “This is a family that we have all grown to love in this community which is why this community, every sector, every race, every gender, every religion has come out to say, we are here for you. We are here for the legacy of Anthony,” said Polos.
In her remarks, Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler marveled over how Highland Park’s small town community makes everyone a neighbor. “Our lives are all intertwined,” she said in her remembrance of Raspa. “Every child of Highland Park is a child of all of us.”
Raspa’s leadership skills and family commitment to community service are what led him to become a State Trooper. His obituary calls him a born leader who excelled in academics and athletics. He was a peer leader at Bishop Ahr High School in Edison and was honored with the Greater Middlesex County Sportsmanship Award.
“Great troopers come from great families,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Callahan. “The way we can continue to honor Anthony, regardless of the profession you’re in, whether you’re a nurse, a school teacher, an elected official, a trooper, just display those qualities that everyone’s talked about today.”
Callahan assured Raspa’s family that “the State Police will never forget you, and the State Police will never forget your son, Anthony Raspa.”
“Anthony Raspa is our hometown hero,” Polos concluded. “We are proud in Highland Park that we have a hometown hero. We are proud that he will be a role model for generations to come, as his name is placed appropriately on this street corner.”