Recognizing Those Who Serve Their Country and Law Enforcement
The Patriot’s Pride Ceremony
By Cynthia Scott, Public Information Officer and Ted Freeman, Executive Undersheriff
March 14, 2019, was a special day at the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, as once again, the sheriff’s office was recognized for the support that it gives to its employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve at the Patriot’s Pride Ceremony. Corrections Officer David Leventhal, a staff sergeant in the New Jersey National Guard, submitted three names for consideration for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Employer Award: Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden, Acting Warden Donald Sutton and Corrections Lt. Stephen Riznyk. All three were presented their awards at the Patriot’s Pride Ceremony by Command Sgt. Maj. Arthur G.A. Maggs, USA (Retired). Monmouth County Executive Assistant Selma Morris (former specialist, United States Army) and Assistant Veteran’s Services Officer Michael Ferraro (Command chief master sergeant, United States Air Force, Ret.) planned and coordinated the Patriot’s Pride event.
“I’m honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award. It’s vital that we continue to provide support and a strong commitment to our citizen soldiers in the National Guard and Reserve especially when engaged in responding to emergencies on the home front or deployed overseas in service of their country,” said Golden. “They fight for our freedom and sacrifice everything to keep us safe through their heroic efforts, and it’s our duty to our nation to strongly support them and their family members.”
The keynote speaker at the ceremony was Capt. Brian Sheakley, Commanding Officer, Navy Operational Support Center, Fort Dix. Sheakley commended the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and Board of Chosen Freeholders for their exceptional support for the military men and women serving in the National Guard and Reserve. "I appreciate the community honoring the sacrifices that our courageous men and women make on behalf of the nation with aid to military families who may face hardships while fighting for our freedom."
In Monmouth County, county employees who are in the National Guard and Reserve receive full pay for 90 days when called to active duty. Following the first 90 days, the county makes up the difference between their county pay and their military base pay for active duty. Families of those on active duty maintain their health benefits and are actively supported by the sheriff’s office during the duration of military activation. The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office has several officers who are currently serving on active duty and deployed overseas and stateside locations.
The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office has hosted two other veteran recognition ceremonies within the last five years. On April 22, 2015, an ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve) ceremony was held in the Sheriff’s Office Operations Center in Freehold. Recognized at that ceremony were Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni, Freeholder Lillian Burry, Michael Ruane – director of the Monmouth County Office on Aging, Disabilities and Veterans Affairs and Randy Schwartz, director, Neptune Community Resource Center.
On Dec. 7, 2016 a Patriot’s Pride Awards and Recognition Ceremony was held at the Monmouth County Police Academy. Guest speakers at the ceremony were Sheriff Shaun Golden, Freeholder Lillian Burry, ESGR Employer Outreach Director Norm Patten, NJ DMAVA Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs Raymond Zawacki and Adjutant General Michael L. Cunniff. The keynote remarks were presented by then-Lt. Gov. and former Monmouth County Sheriff Kim Guadagno. Sheriff Golden, along with Neptune Township and Ocean Township Police Departments, received awards for their support for the National Guard and Reserves at this ceremony. In addition, 49 police chiefs submitted their Statements of Support
Affirmation for the Guard and Reserve, and the NJ DMAVA Military Awards and ESGR Awards were presented. Just before the closing of the ceremony, the “Wall of Heroes” was unveiled, listing every employee of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office who has served in the military, Guard and Reserve. That “Wall of Heroes” is proudly displayed in the entrance foyer of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office Public Safety Center for all who enter to see.
“The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office remains committed to supporting our men and women who, in addition to their duties as law enforcement professionals, have a commitment to the safety and security of their country by serving in the National Guard and Reserve,” said Golden.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Our dedicated officers who remain in the Guard and Reserve continue to pay that price for all of us.”