SPARTA, NJ- It was an evening of thanks. Sparta celebrated the township’s 2019 Older American of the Year as well as honoring senior volunteers at a dinner held at the Walter Lynch Senior Center at Knoll Heights on May 4.  The event was hosted by the Sparta Parks and Recreation Department.

Mayor Molly Whilesmith presented a proclamation to Thomas Holovacs, this year’s honoree.  Holovacs was surrounded by family at the dinner.

Holovacs dedicated years of service to the community at a number of organization, most notably with the Sparta Ambulance Corps.  He was recognized in March for 50 years of service as an EMT with a proclamation from the Sparta Township Council.

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Holovacs joined the squad in 1969 and was in the second EMT class in New Jersey when the program began.   Initially a volunteer, Holovacs became a nurse.  He worked as a critical care nurse at Saint Clare’s Hospital until retiring two years ago.

For the past three years Holovacs has earned the Road Runner Award, having answered the most calls of all squad members. In 2017 Holovacs broke the record for the most calls ever, for as long as records have been kept.

In addition to Holovacs, the event recognized the contribution of several community volunteers.  At the May 14 Township Council meeting Manager Bill Close said many seniors volunteer in many ways including acting as Senior Ambassadors “in the fishbowl” greeting visitors to town hall, answering the phone at the senior center, driving the van. 

Sparta High School Key Club students served the meal and the Pope John American Spirit Singers provided entertainment, Close said.

Members of the Senior Advisory Committee Eileen Francis, Herb Stanske, Mary Parker, Joan Shaw, Fredricka Link, Florence Meyer, Dennis Gibson, Dorothy Eckweiler, Arlene Kayne and Mary Coe.

Deputy Mayor Christine Quinn and Councilmembers Jerry Muphy and David Smith, Close and Parks and Recreation Director Jeanne Montemarano attended the dinner hosted by the Sparta Parks and Recreation Department.