WEST ORANGE, NJ — At an elegant reception honoring late West Orange police officer, Timothy Groves, more than $25,000 was raised in October to benefit the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship. The event, held at the Wilshire Grand Hotel’s Loft at 350, marked the second-annual fundraiser for the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship, which is part of the West Orange Scholarship Fund (WOSF).
Approximately 125 people attended the event, which was hosted by The Shauger Group, West Orange PBA Local 25, West Orange Firefighters Association FMBA Local 28, West Orange SOA Local 228, and WOSF. Local companies—including Star-Lo Electric, Bobcat of North Jersey, Apple Montessori Schools, McCutcheon Associates, the West Orange Federal Credit Union, and the Douglas Tucker RE/MAX Real Estate team—also helped to underwrite the fundraiser through corporate sponsorships.
One-hundred-percent of the event’s proceeds directly benefited the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship, which provides need-based financial scholarships to West Orange students every year. The Shauger Group’s president/CEO, Lisa Shauger, and executive vice president, Donald Shauger, founded the scholarship in 2014 in memory of Officer Groves, who was a close friend of theirs.
“This will continue to be an annual event,” said Donald Shauger. “I make a promise to the Groves family: Timothy Groves will go down in history here in West Orange, his name will never be forgotten, and [we’ll continue] his mission, his dream, and the way Timmy was so passionate about making sure that the youth of West Orange were taken care of.”
Groves, who died from cancer in 2013, was known as a remarkable leader in the West Orange community and was highly respected for his charity. In addition to serving in law enforcement, Officer Groves mentored local children, volunteered with Special Olympics, served as West Orange Police Department youth program coordinator, and earned countless awards for valor.
In memory of Groves, who was the 2009 West Orange Police Officer of the Year, the Watchung Heights police substation was officially renamed the Police Officer Timothy Groves Community Center and Police Substation in 2014.
“Timmy Groves’ name will live on forever,” said Shauger. “The dollars that we’ve raised today [will] touch seniors, not just today, but for years to come.”
Following Donald Shauger’s speech, WOSF president, Rich Rizzolo, described the history of the WOSF, which was founded in 1923. Since its inception 93 years ago, the WOSF has raised more than $1.1 million for more than 1,700 students. According to Rizzolo, the WOSF presently manages 72 scholarships in total, with the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship as one of its largest.
To date, the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to five students: Thomas Sayers, Rebekah Pedo, Christine Bell, Brendin Espeleta-Silveria, and Jada Parker. To be considered for the scholarship, West Orange High School seniors must submit written applications; the WOSF’s committee evaluates all applications, taking students’ academic records and extracurricular involvement into account.
For the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship, specifically, special consideration is given to students in financial need who mirror Officer Groves’ selflessness, industriousness and dedication to service.
“The scholarship goes to individuals who are interested in community service, in criminal justice, and in extracurricular activities—the same things that Timmy Groves was involved in,” said Rizzolo. “Our first year, we gave it to one student. This past June, four received West Orange Tim Groves scholarships.
“One attended the State Trooper Youth Week and a summer internship in the Essex County prosecutor’s office, and hopes to major in the criminal justice area. That was Rebekah Pedo. The second, Christine Bell, is going to major in forensic psychology. Brendin Silveria is going to study criminal justice, national security, and forensic psychology in school. And Jada Parker is hoping to study abroad and become a prosecutor.
“So, we found four students this past year who were interested in continuing the legacy of Tim Groves, and we’re very proud of that. This is a very special event, and it’s one of the [most special] of the seventy-two scholarships that we manage.”
As a result of the generous contributions of the fundraiser’s sponsors, event attendees, and other civic-minded donors, a total of over $45,000 has been raised for the Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship over the past two years alone. Approximately $20,000 was donated at the first annual Timothy Groves Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser, which took place one year ago in October 2015.
The fundraiser featured numerous door prizes, including New York Giants tickets; New Jersey Devils tickets; Andrea Bocelli concert tickets; restaurant gift certificates to Newark’s Fornos of Spain, Orange’s Libretti’s Restaurant, and Whippany’s Il Capriccio Restaurant; a hockey stick autographed by current New Jersey Devils forward, Mike Cammalleri; one month of free athletic training at Cedar Knolls fitness center, Next Level Training; and various baskets, tickets, and prizes donated by event sponsors, donors, and attendees.
“It is a testament to Tim Groves that the scholarship fund in his name has been so tremendously successful in such a short period of time,” said Lisa Shauger. “This scholarship is near and dear to both my heart and Donald’s. We have made a personal commitment to the West Orange Scholarship Fund, to local students, and to the memory of Tim Groves to ensure the scholarship provides a bright future to West Orange youth for many years to come.”