On Thursday, February 16th, the Camden County Board of Freeholders held their monthly meeting at the Brooklawn Senior Community Center. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Girl Scout Troop 30721. The National Anthem was performed by David Chorzelewski, a Rutgers University music education student.
Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez presented a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) check for $21,600 to Mayor Theresa Branella and members of council. The federally funded CDBG funds will be used to replace deteriorated sidewalks throughout the municipality.
Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli recognized Girl Scout Troop 30721 and presented them with a $100 donation. Brooklawn Brownie Girl Scout Troop is comprised of 13 girls from the area. Last year, the girls used their earnings from the sale of cookies to assemble snack bags for patients undergoing chemotherapy. The troop recently earned their philanthropist badges by making 250 peanut butter & jelly sandwiches to serve the homeless and hungry population of Camden City. They also collected food, toys, clothing, hats, and gloves for donation to various local organizations. The young ladies of this troop are committed to helping the community and have shown dedication and diligence in all that they do.
Freeholder Susan Shin Angulo presented a community award to Kimberly Meehan. Kimberly is a registered dental hygienist and has volunteered in community dental programs for over 20 years. Kimberly developed a community outreach program to educate children grades K-3 on good oral health. Since 2007, she has volunteered in over 200 classrooms in Philadelphia, Camden, and Gloucester Counties. Kimberly is also an active volunteer in Brooklawn. She is on the planning committee for the Brooklawn Fall Festival, assists the spirit committee in spreading Christmas cheer to families in need, and created and directed the inaugural Brooklawn Fall Festival Royalty Competition for girls ages 5-24. Last year, Kimberly volunteered to help raise awareness and gather donations for Purses Full of Hope by collecting purses filled with hygiene products, make up, hats, gloves, scarves and a note of encouragement for women in homeless shelters and safe havens. Kimberly and her team of 5 delivered over 500 purses to Camden County Women’s Center, Philadelphia’s Women Against Abuse, and Mothers Home in Delaware County. Kimberly will continue to raise awareness, gathering, and delivering Purses Full of Hope this coming Mother’s Day and New Year’s Day. Kimberly resides in Brooklawn with her husband James and their two dogs Maggie and Mina.
Freeholder Bill Moen presented the Young Community Leader Award to Angel Rodriguez. At 20 years old, Angel has experienced many difficult times at an early age. Angel was placed in foster care at the age of five, moving from one foster home to another. He struggled in school and sometimes lost his way especially after the tragic loss of his sister. Angel graduated from Gloucester City High School and was a Varsity Letter winner in baseball. For the past few years he has lived with the family of Bruce and Jill Darrow. The Darrow’s instilled in Angel the importance of community involvement and volunteering. Instead of giving up, Angel is now a junior at Rowan University pursuing his dream of becoming a teacher. Angel has been elected to the Brooklawn Board of Education. He is the boys’ basketball coach at Alice Costello School and he coached the girls’ travel softball team, girls’ travel basketball team and the All-Out Baseball Academy ASA softball team. Angel also served as an officer for the Gloucester City Basketball Association.
Freeholder Moen presented the monthly sustainability award to Brown’s Super Store-Brooklawn ShopRite. The Brown’s Shoprite commitment to sustainability has been integrated into all aspects of their operations and management. They have developed a comprehensive plan detailing their long-term programs that are beneficial to the environment and to the communities they serve. Their plan incorporates three pillars: reduce environmental impact, ensure health and safety of associates, and lastly embrace corporate social responsibility. In addition, they use advanced technology to reduce their carbon footprint by installing LED lighting and upgrading refrigeration systems with state of the art controls to maximize efficiency and reduce cost. Brown’s has recycled thousands of tons of cardboard, plastic, paper and organic materials – significantly reducing waste from entering landfills. They have also collaborated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to manage food waste more sustainably. Lastly, they have partnered with food banks throughout the region to donate fresh food to help provide nutritious meals to the homeless.
Freeholder Director Cappelli presented a proclamation to Brooke Mulford. Brooke was diagnosed with neuroblastoma on January 5th, 2009 at the young age of 4 years old. Since that awful day, Brooke has endured multiple surgeries, stem cell transplants, numerous bone marrow biopsies and blood and platelet transfusions. Countless days of radiation to her skull, both femurs and abdomen and completed a grueling immunotherapy clinical trial in 2010. The cancer had started in her right adrenal gland and spread through every bone in her body, and approximately 80% of her bone marrow. Brooke has never once complained about having to go to the hospital for treatments and actually enjoyed “sleepovers” and getting to see her amazing doctors. Brooke has an infectious smile and a strong positive attitude. Brooke celebrates every day and inspires thousands around the country with her strength. Brooke’s cancer has spread to her brain and recently had brain surgery. She will continue treatments all with a smile, as she never gives up. Brooke, now 12 years old, loves Pokémon, Animal Jam, Webkinz, Legos, Minecraft and her favorite sport teams are the Baltimore Ravens, the Boston Red Sox and the Phillies!
Freeholder Jeff Nash presented a proclamation to Jodina Hicks. In 1998, 18-year-old Jodina, was attending college and came to Camden to teach a Sunday school class. During the next 12 years, she became involved in what has become the Urban Promise school. She created the StreetLeader Program, a teen employment and leadership program. In 2000, Jodina left Urban Promise to attain her law degree from Rutgers University. She then became involved in the non-profit world of prison reform and reentry. Eventually she moved to Chicago and became Vice President of the SAFER Foundation, a premier reentry program. She has directed programs that served 10,000 individuals with criminal records in Illinois and Iowa, and her work produced many publications to reduce recidivism and helped craft Illinois state legislation. In 2010, Jodina returned to Camden and Urban Promise to become the Executive Director. She oversees a staff of over 60 full time employees, a $3.2 million-dollar budget and hundreds of youth daily in a multitude of programs. Jodina is a mother to 5 adopted children: Gabriel, Carter, Courage and nieces Alyssa & Aaliyah
Freeholder Nash presented Camden County’s February employee of the month to Brian Costantino, the District Recycling Coordinator for the Division of Environmental Affairs. Brian has worked for Camden County for 22 years. He is a NJ Certified Recycling Professional, Member of Association of NJ Household Hazardous Coordinators and Member of Association of NJ Recyclers. Brian was the 2008 recipient of the NJ Clean Communities award for enforcement, was interviewed by Businessweek regarding electronic waste recycling, and was instrumental in the passage of senate bill S981, updating the Electronic Waste Management Act of NJ. Outside of work, he enjoys boating, fishing, music, and acting. He has appeared on TV shows like Boardwalk Empire and The Knick, and on movies like Jersey Girl, Creed, and Paranoia. Brian coached high school football for 8 years at St. Joes Prep in Philadelphia and 1 year at Camden Catholic in Pennsauken. He was raised in Gloucester Twp. and attended Paul VI High School in Haddon Twp. Brian has a Bachelor of Science degree from West Chester University and resides in Gloucester Twp. with his wife and three children.