If the number of plaques piled high at the beginning of the township's reorganization meeting Thursday night was any indication, Montville, and those who have spent years working in the town, have a lot to be proud of.
Dozens of retiring police officers, borough employees and township volunteers were honored with kind words and awards of recognition for serving the residents of Montville. Five police officers who retired at the end of December were included as Chief Richard Cook spoke about the changes many of them have endured with the department throughout their time with the force.
"Gone are they days when we were just given a firearm and sent on the road before going to the academy," he said. "We have come a long way since you guys first started."
Officers recognized included Capt. Ed Rosellini, who served the department for 34 years and was instrumental in the creation of the township's Emergency Response Team. Rosellini was also involved in improving school security, Cook said. Lt. Roger Atkinson, a 35-year member of the force, was also honored as Cook joked that he should get his knees fixed. Capt. Wayne Guarino, who also served the township for 35 years and was a firearms instructor, was also recognized.
Other officers honored were Lt. Letitia Huffstutler, the township's first female officer and a 26-year member of the police force. Ptl. James Polacheck, also a 26-year-member of the force, was recognized and, as Cook said, indispensable during weather events, like Superstorm Sandy, the township endured.
Cook reflected on all the ways the officers have helped the township and its residents.
"What I realized is that you have impacted the lives of many people. You have seen people at their worst and helped them," he said.
Earlier in the meeting, Health Department employee Andrew Davanzo, who helped with the Montville Dial-a-Ride service and was a township employee for 27 years, was also recognized. Donald Cole, an employee of the Department of Public Works for 32 years, invited his family to join him in his recognition.
Harry Schaub was honored for his nine years of service to the township as deputy emergency management coordinator and Dennis Driscoll, who served as Montville's municipal prosecutor for 13 years, was honored. Dan Danzi also served as municipal prosecutor for 13 years and David Amadio was recognized for serving as the municipal public defender for 13 years.
The township committee also called out names of retiring commissioners and board members, all of whom dedicated years of service to Montville. See the full list of all who were honored here.