SPRINGFIELD, NJ — An afternoon of recognition for the life of a Springfield icon occurred on Tuesday, as members of the Springfield first responder community gathered for a salute to Officer Ronnie Mitnitsky, who passed away last week from coronavirus.

Mitnitsky had been honored by the township in 2017 for serving 50 years as an auxiliary police officer.

Following the memorial ceremony, the Springfield Township Committee also acknowledged Mitnitsky's contributions to the community at the start of their meeting. Springfield Mayor Chris Capodice read a statement from the township at the start of the meeting.

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"The township and all of our employees mourn the loss of our auxiliary police corporal, Ron Mitnitsky, on April 8th," Capodice said. "Ronnie was an active member in our auxiliary police since 1968, when the unit was re-organized. This is a great loss not only for the office of emergency management, but also for the township.

"Special events will not be the same without Ronnie and from the entire township committee and all of our employees, our sincerest condolences to his family and friends."

Capodice then asked if any other members on the call had remarks about the life and impact of Mitnitsky. Township Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Scott Seidel, who has known Mitnitsky for decades spoke up at the meeting to honor his friend.

"He was a member of the auxiliary police for 50 years," Seidel said. "He was our last original member that dates back to when the unit was re-organized in 1968. Ronnie was at every event, and he was defined by his smiling face and his easygoing demeanor, and he will be missed, and special events won't be the same. Rest in peace my friend."

Mike Scalera, who knew Mitnitsky well, also gave his thoughts on his friend's life and time in Springfield.

"Ron — he was a dear friend of mine, and he was a client, but other than that, he was a dear friend," Scalera said." He would always come in the office very happy. To see him at events — as he got older, he just was nonstop. So I just want to — his family and his friends and everything — wish my condolences, and again, he's going to be sorely missed."