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MAY 2016


Art of a confident smile


Women2016 GCL’s


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Goings On Doing Good School Spirit FEATURES

Women of GCL Neighborhood Spotlight: Pitman

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Through 5.15 MAN OF LA MANCHA Grab a seat and prepare to “Dream the Impossible Dream.” Tickets: $28. Broadway Theatre of Pitman, 43 S. Broadway, 856-384-838.

nual Arts Fest on Main Street and it will include demonstrations of glass blowing, wood carving, pottery creating on a wheel and painting. There will food vendors and activities for children, too. Main Street in Mullica Hill.

5.7 SUPER SATURDAY This annual event (10 a.m. start) promises a little something for everyone, including arts and crafts, marching bands, great Mothers’ Day gifts, live music from SassFaction, face painting along with inflatable and mechanical rides. The theme is “No One Fights Alone.” Super Saturday benefits Washington Township’s Family and Community Services Department. Washington Lake Park, 626 Hurffville Crosskeys Road, Sewell. (Rain date is May 14).


CRAFTMEN & HOME SHOW This family-friendly springtime event will include more than 100 artists and craftmen, a spring home and garden expo, food court, entertainment and much more. The fun is scheduled for 10 a.m.-4 p.m. both days. Admission is free. Please donate a can of pet food for local shelters. Gloucester County 4H Fairgrounds, 275 Bridgeton Pike, Mullica Hill. 856-7650118.


CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SPRING CRAFT SHOW This annual town tradition, which has been going on for more than three decades, will feature 200-plus crafters displaying handmade wares as thousands of shoppers stroll the streets. This event takes places in the heart of Uptown Pitman, along Broadway and Pitman Avenue. Call 856-582-3444 or e-mail


Historic Mullica Hill is hosting its an6 ­­­ | GLOUCESTER COUNTY LIVING | MAY 2016


THE HISTORY OF AMERICA Join Benjamin Franklin on an educational and fun musical journey from the landing of Christopher Columbus through the Revolutionary War. Showtimes: 10:30 a.m. May 19; 10 a.m. May 20.Tickets: $7-$9. Broadway Theatre of Pitman, 43 S. Broadway. 856-384-8381. Thebroadwaytheatre. org.


SPARC 5K, 1 MILE WALK AND FUN RIDE The event will support SPARC, which provides outreach to engage caregivers and other community members to become educated and involved with other youth to prevent substance abuse. The day will include a 5K/1 mile walk or run (8:15 a.m.), as well as a kids fun run (9 a.m.). Registration opens at 7 a.m. Pitman High School, 225 Linden Ave. html.



5.LOCKE 14-5.AVENUE 15 FUN DAY This annual springtime event has been extended to two days this year. There will be rides, fireworks (on May 14 only) and vendors. Noon-9 p.m. on May 14 and noon-6 p.m. on May 15. Locke Avenue Park, 58 Locke Ave., Woolwich Township.

5.13 FREE MOVIES IN THE PARK: Enjoy a fun family night out at Stewart Lake Park in Woodbury. Bring a chair and blanket. Shows begin at dusk (8-8:30 p.m.). 856-251-6710. gloucestercountynj. gov/cals.

old-fashioned games, family-friendly activities and more from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. This is a fun-raiser as much as it is a fundraiser. 319 E. Red Bank Ave.


This new event will include food and craft vendors, live music, outdoor and

5.21 THE BRONX WANDERERS This one is being billed as “the biggest dance party the theatre has ever hosted.” Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets: $35. Broadway Theatre of Pitman, 43 S. Broadway, 856-384-8381.

5.26 GREATER SWEDESBORO GOLF TOURNAMENT The event is in honor of Dolores Connors and Barbara Hoffmann, and will take place at Town and County Links in Woodstown. The golfer’s entry fee is $125, and includes greens fee, golf cart, lunch, prizes and an “unwind” buffet dinner at the Holiday Inn in Swedesboro. Cash bar opens at 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. dinner (A Taste of Swedesboro and Beyond). There will be a scramble format, with a shotgun start at 11 a.m. Cutoff to receive entries is May 12. For more information, call Ceri Galati or Joseph Bouvier at 856-241-9779.

5.27 JIMMY BEAUMONT AND THE SKYLINERS Enjoy a night of entertainment with such songs as “Since I Don’t Have You,” “This I Swear” and “I’ll Be Seeing You.” Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets: $35. Broadway Theatre of Pitman, 43 S. Broadway, 856-384-8381,

5.27 FOURTH FRIDAY It’s back! Following a long winter hiatus, Uptown Pitman’s Fourth Friday returns to Broadway 6-9 p.m. This is a chance to enjoy live music, great shops, good restaurants and plenty of fun. uptownpitman. com/fourth-friday.

6.12 ROCK THE ISLE PRESENTS BOTTO’S BANQUETS BRIDAL SHOW Here’s the chance to get some wedding ideas and have your questions answered. Doors open at 1 p.m. and fashion show begins at 2:30 p.m. Botto’s Italian Line, 1411 Kings Highway, Swedesboro. Preregister online at For more information, call 866-306-3592 or e-mail

RiverWinds Congratulates West Deptford’s Own AMY LESO for being selected as GCL Women of Gloucester County 2016!

Bring in this ad for a Free Thirty Pass, valid for thirty days free land/water group exercise classes with the purchase of any new or renewal membership. One Free Thirty Pass per person per calendar year. Offer Expires June 30th, 2016

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Come Join Our Ponytails and Pucks! Little Girls Team or Our Woman’s Hockey Team

Hollydell Women’s Ice Hockey Women’s In House League. All Skill levels. Thursday Night Games. Hollydell Women’s Ice Hockey is an all female In House league at Hollydell Ice Arena. The league consists of over 60 skaters of mixed age and skill level. Some are college students, former college students, doctors, lawyers, stay at home moms, hockey moms, high school players, and rookies. We currently have 4 teams in the spring league that play on Thursday nights at Hollydell at 7:15 and 8:45. The program initially started off a few years ago with a women’s learn to skate program and since then has evolved into a league. Women enter the league for all different reasons. Whether it’s for exercise, competition, off season training, or just a night out, they all come to play. Some players are interested in pursuing hockey at a college level, with Rowan Women’s Ice Hockey around the corner. This program also allows girls to participate in a non checking league. We welcome all. Visit our Hollydell Women’s Ice Hockey Facebook page.

Congratulations to Hollydell’s own Nancy Andrelczyk for being named one of the Women of Gloucester County 2016

Open Skate Times: M-F: 12-1:30 Sat-Sun: 1:30-2:45, 3-4:15 Fri & Sat Evenings: 8:30-10 (856) 589-5599 601 Hollydell Drive Sewell, NJ 08080 MAY 2016 |


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The Annual Memorial Day Services are taking place Monday May 30th, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. (rain or shine). Woolwich Fire House, Kings Highway in Swedesboro.(Bring lawn chairs).

Congratulations to Ceri Galati for a being one of the Women of Gloucester County 2016!

Celebrating our Mothers on Sunday, May 8th

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Other Locations in Pennsville • Carneys Point • Salem Hospital

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Look for our weekly in house specials BIG MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND SALE Hats off to the Ladies of Gloucester County! Lit Cigar Lounge & King’s Club offers tobacco enthusiasts a premium selection of the world’s finest cigars.

Spend $20 and get a Day in our “Members Only” Cigar Lounge 617 Auburn Avenue in Swedesoboro 856.214.3468

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American Legion Shaw-Paulin Post 241 selected Glassboro High School students JaZahn Hicks (second from left), Isaiah Eila (third from left), William Mintz (fourth  from right) and Jacob Dorfman (second  from right) to represent Glassboro at this year’s American Legion Jersey Boys State Conference. The post’s selection panel, shown in uniform, included Howard U. Gant Sr. (far left), Henry Heyman (third  from right), John Chila (far right) and Howard U. Grant Jr. (not pictured). 

2School Thomas Jefferson Elementary 1 fourth-grade Read 180 students in Tracy Misata’s class recently posed for a celebratory picture after reaching their remarkable goal of reading one million words.

3omore Glassboro High School sophMykah Hutton won this year’s Glassboro’s Got Talent Contest with her vocal performance of Beyonce’s “1+1.” Hutton is a member of the Glassboro  School District’s Fine and Performing Arts Academy. She is pictured (left) with teacher and Glassboro’s Got Talent producer Anne-Sophie Meeks.

4School Glassboro Intermediate history teacher Matthew

Schwarz recently received a fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation to attend the Summer 2016 Woodrow Wilson HistoryQuest Institute in July. The fellowship provides professional development for middle and high school history teachers in New Jersey.

4 2


Members of the Washington Township Board of Education celebrated the individual and collective creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen of Washington Township High School DECA and FBLA students at their March meeting. WTHS Principal Ann Moore (far left) and department supervisor Steve Whalen (far right) joined WTHS business advisors and students following their recognition.






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There are so many of these standout leaders around Gloucester County deserving of placement on a special list, too many to feature in one issue of GCL. But in this first annual special Women of Gloucester County edition, we are recognizing 10 ladies who have made tremendous impacts in their respective communities. For some, the journey has included leaping over personal life hurdles that may have caused a temporary setback, but in the end, paved the path to a greater calling – one in which involved helping others in need.

Passion Leadership Caring Community pride Always willing to help others

Women2016 GCL’s

By Bill Gelman


To learn more about these inspiring These are just a handful of words that women, continue reading the profiles can be used to describe a very special that follow. group of women residing or working in Coming in September: Gloucester County. It’s not about being Men of Gloucester County. the center of attention or the recipient of E-mail nominations to : a standing ovation. The reward for their hard work usually comes in the form of smiling faces or a “thank you.”


Orthopaedic Associates

Honoring the Women of Gloucester County!! Congratulations!

Katelyn Darrow PITMAN


atelyn Darrow knows what it’s like being a person in need. Instead of spending every day reflecting on a past that has included being a survivor of domestic violence and a house fire, she uses those not so memorable moments from her life as motivation for helping others. At a very young age – 12 to be exact – she started a 501c3 nonprofit organization called Angels of God Clothing Closet in Pitman. The mission: provide clothing and more for free to families in need. “Because my family and I were in need at one time, I feel like I can relate (even just in a small capacity) to the clients referred to our organization,” Darrow, who is now a college student, said. “People come to us from all different circumstances and walks of life, but we try to provide  a positive, uplifting experience for them. It touches my heart because I remember how influenced I was by the individuals and organizations that assisted my family and I.” One recent “positive, uplifting” experience included her Easter Basket Outreach Project in which 800 Easter baskets were assembled in New Jersey and another 200 were put together in California. The organization also made 250 care package baskets full of snacks and treats that were given to homeless men and

women living on the streets of Camden. “In all, 1,250 Easter baskets were given out. We partnered with local homeless shelters and youth-oriented nonprofits in Gloucester County and Los Angeles,” Darrow said. “… But I really would like to say ‘thank you’ because this outreach project wouldn't have been possible without everyone who donated. The support and generosity  from others is what makes  my organization thrive. I wouldn't be able to do it alone!” Her mother has served as a role model every step of the way, which includes instilling the importance of helping others. “She taught us to be selfless, rather than selfish, and through that sentiment, I learned that happiness comes from being the giver, not the receiver,” Darrow said.“I wouldn't be the person I am today if it wasn't for my mother.” Darrow, who is majoring in communications with an emphasis in journalism, is far from finished with sharing her giving nature. It includes planning more West Coast-based projects while expanding the little Pitman storefront “that is bustling at the seams.” “But it's all in God's hands,” Darrow said. “We'll see where the organization goes, but I have no doubts that we'll continue to accomplish great things together.”

Arthritis Care Sports Medicine Joint Replacements Pain Management Foot & Ankle Care Fracture Care & Intervention Hand & Concussion Care Neck & Spine Care Wrist Care REDEFINING THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE IN ORTHOPAEDICS SEMINAR AND OPEN HOUSE SERIES Learn more about the most up-to-date procedures & medical treatment options from Premier Experts who are redefining the patient experience, taking patient CARE to the next level! May 24 - Woolwich Eddie S. Wu, DO

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RSVP TODAY: 856-690-1616 or • 856.690.1616 Vineland • Elmer • Mullica Hill • Woolwich PREMIER Care, Right Here, Right Now! MAY 2016 |


Passionate about All Smiles

Dr. Nermeen Rifai’s love for dentistry is put on full display at All Smiles Family Dental in Williamstown.



icture this: a bright white smile glowing like a glass table after receiving a fresh coat of Windex. The immediate response may be “I wish I had a smile like that.” Dr. Nermeen Rifai may not be in position to grant wishes, but she knows exactly what it takes to send her patients home smiling from ear to ear. After all, the name on the sign of her Williamstown-based practice is All Smiles Family Dental. It's a job she is so passionate about that the slogan is  "your confidence starts here.”     This passion for helping people dates back to her childhood, days in California, before she had any idea that she would be running her own practice on the opposite coast. “I knew I wanted to do something in the medical field, I just didn’t know what,” Rifai said.“As I got older, I just realized that I have a love for helping people out.” The patients range from age 3 up to seniors citizens. When the younger ones come in for that initial checkup, the All Smiles Family Dental staff takes photos of the teeth to show them what’s going on in their mouth. “We talk a lot to the kids to make them feel comfortable,” Rifai said. Of course, those who have a good visit to her office are often rewarded with a frozen treat – a scoop or two of their favorite flavor from neighboring Dairy Fresh Ice Cream. The journey to becoming a successful dentist has literally taken Rifai from coast to coast. She was born in Chicago but raised in California where going to the dentist always seemed to be an enjoyable experience. “When I was a child, I always had great visits to the dentist,” Rifai said. As she matured to college age, the decision was made that she wanted to follow in her dentist’s footsteps. It’s a journey that sent her several thousand miles from home as she enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania (a school that appears by Rifai’s name on her white lab coat). Before graduating in 2008, the dentist in training joined the advanced standing program and was afforded the opportunity to teach dentistry at the university during her last year there. Rifai started her career as a clinical instructor at the school, but would soon venture into opening her own practice. Living in South Philadelphia at the time, Rifai found a perfect “spacious and open” spot at 420 N. Black Horse Pike in Williamstown and opened All Smiles Family Dental in ’11. Running a practice can be a time-consuming routine, especially with a full day of patients and having three young children at home. Luckily, her husband, Mo Rushdy, who works full-time in real estate, handles the day-to-day business operations so Rifai can focus on what she loves best – the clinical work. The All Smiles Family Dental team also includes registered dental hygienist Erica Callaway, dental assistant Leslie Evans, dental assistant Gia Renzi and office manager/patient coordinator Suzie Dotzel. Communication with patients is the top priority, which includes taking the time to get to know each of the patients at their first visit. The three operatories in the office are each equipped with televisions in which patients can enjoy their favorite soap opera or latest episode of “Ellen,” providing a distraction to the bright light shining above and the work being

done inside the mouth. “Watching television gets them out of the mindset as to where they are at,” Rifai said. Patients are in very good hands as the skilled artisan continues to pursue continuing education courses under dental experts from around the world in order to provide treatment of immense quality that she takes great pride in. Besides routine cleanings, patients of All Smiles Family Dental will be in the trusty hands of a dentist capable of handling the placement of lumineers and veneers, implant restoration and oral surgery. Rifai is also Invisalign certified. The office accepts a number of different insurances, all of which can be found on the website (, with special financing available as well. The team is also available for emergency calls, even if it means coming in to handle an abnormal emergency on the weekend when the office is closed. Weekends are typically reserved for some family time with twin daughters, Salma and Hana, who are both 7, and son, Adam, who is 3. Ocean City, Md., is the family vacation spot of choice, but water sports, a personal hobby of Rifai’s may be something they venture into down the road. For now, building sandcastles on the beach is a fun-filled activity for the family who calls Moorestown home. Balancing a career with home life can be more involved then a dental procedure at times, but Rifai shares an equal passion for both, usually smiling every step of the way. But in terms of All Smiles Family Dental, new faces are always welcome. Rifai gets so much enjoyment out of what she does that she said “it’s not just a job.” “It think it’s a passion and loving what I do,” Rifai said. “I think if the doctor or the dentist has a passion for what they do, you are in good hands regardless of where you are going.”

To learn more about All Smiles Family Dental, call 856-740-1416 or visit 15 ­­­

Women2016 GCL’s


Amélie Harris-McGeehan  C

Kim Wilson K


im Wilson realized at a very young age that she wanted to be a college softball coach. Her mom, Jan Wilson, spent 25 years as coach at Penn State Behrend College, so spending the spring months on campus quickly became a regular routine. Fast forward to present day and the younger Wilson is still spending a lot of time at college, except these days she is the one doing the coaching. Wilson is now in her 21st season of coaching the Rowan University softball team, a role in which she has put together a very impressive career mark of 649-221, which included a 32-8 and counting mark for the current season. Even with her overall career mark standing at 713-278, Wilson is not the type to brag about individual accolades. Entering the season with a career winning percentage of .744 is enough to capture attention, but the valuable life lessons that Wilson passes on to her players seem to have more of a lasting 16 ­­­ | GLOUCESTER COUNTY LIVING | MAY 2016

impact. “I just tell them to be good people and listen to each other,”Wilson tells her players. “You do the best you can, and even if you do your best, your are not always going to win. You win with class, you lose with class.” The coach, who has guided the Profs to five New Jersey Athletic Conference Championships and 13 NCAA Championship Tournament appearances, maintains a family-like atmosphere in which the players and coaches support one another. This former Pennsylvanian has also grown quite fond of her South Jersey surroundings. “You are near a big city, but you can also be in the country a little bit, too,” she said. More importantly, Wilson’s true comfort zone is getting young ladies to play good softball and develop as studentathletes.


ancer is one of those life-altering words, but Woodbury resident Amélie Harris-McGeehan refused to let the words “breast cancer” ruin her life. Instead, her situation provided motivation to do something big: create a Community Garden in Woodbury. “I had a very big wake-up call and felt so inspired and motivated to do something that felt healthy and positive, here, where I live,” Harris-McGeehan said of the space located just off East Red Bank Avenue. Growing up in Pennsylvania, her parents made a lasting impression, as they were very involved with community projects. The love for gardening also dates back to her childhood, as a family friend was a “gardener extraordinaire.” “She grew a large variety of vegetables, and flowers in her beautiful garden,” Harris-McGeehan, who has experience teaching environmental education, recalled. “I was always in awe of what she knew and how she made such delicious meals with all of these vegetables. We would spend many hours in that garden.” Now in its 12th season, there are currently 44 adults and 22 children of varying ages involved with the Woodbury Community Garden. The group also recently hosted its first garden work session, with 26 adults, some Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and high school students helping out. On May 14th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Spring Fest is taking place (just a short walk or drive from the YMCA at 235 E. Red

Bank Ave.), which is something Harris-McGeehan said she has wanted to do there for quite some time, as it’s a way to bring people together. It’s being described as both a “FunRaiser and a FundRaiser.” “Having food, games, music, fun activities in a garden setting, seemed like a win-win situation for everyone,” she said of the open-to-the-public event that will include food and crafter vendors, oldfashioned games, raffle items, live music and an opportunity to be outside, near the gardens. For Harris-McGeehan it’s sure to be another memorable day at the Woodbury Community Garden – a place that is a source of great joy. “This project would not be what it is, if it wasn't for those who stepped up to really help me to move this along,” she said, noting that Bill Schmidt has helped out significantly. Of course, there is one more individual who has been there every step of the way. “The person who has supported me through this entire journey, from its very beginnings … my vision, and the hopes to getting this idea off the ground and running, and helping to keep it running, is my husband, Rich,” Harris-McGeehan said. For those who want to get involved with the garden, there are three plots still available. For more information, e-mail woodburycommunitygarden@gmail. com or go to

Charlie Fusco SEWELL


harlie Fusco grew up a long way from South Jersey, splitting her time between California and Mexico, where her grandparents resided. There were fun times, like long vacations to Hawaii, and not so fun, like seeing her parents go through a very intense divorce that got so bad that there were days that she would come home from school and the water and power were shut off. What does this have to do with today, you ask? Well, this 39-year-old who now calls Sewell home is a truly inspirational story. Fusco is the CEO and creative director of Synergixx LLC, a multi-million dollar direct response marketing business that handles radio, TV and print production. “I started my company in my living room with my 4-month old on my lap after moving here so my husband could take a job (as a tenured theater professor) at Rowan University,” Fusco said. “I was going to be a TV producer - a one-woman show - so I could keep my baby home with me as long as possible.” The company, which employs more than 100 people including high school and stay-athome parents, expanded into Sewell in 2000. Today, Fusco is a leader who enjoys providing

employment opportunities. “Keeping the business in the community and being a significant job provider and community resource is important to us,” Fusco said.“We want to support and infuse the community that has given us so much since we moved here in 2000.” It marks quite a reversal of fortune since her teenage years, when she worked after school at Kinko’s and a balloon store on the weekends, with her earnings paying for food. If she wanted something, like a dress for the prom, she had to borrow one or pay for it herself. Fusco also put herself through college at Boston University. Fusco also believes in helping people outside of home and work, as her family is very active with the Memorial Presbyterian Church in Wenonah, which they have been going to for the last 15 years. Within that church community, the entire family participates in youth group, food pantry, Ronald McDonald House, Heiffer Project, and serving families that need to get back on their  feet. They also produce the annual children's Christmas pageant for six years. Fusco also regularly cooks large meals for the church to facilitate fellowship hours.

Women2016 GCL’s


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MAY 2016 |


Women2016 Nancy Andrelczyk GCL’s




ancy Andrelczyk is not known for her ice skating skills. She laced up the skates for the first time during a 2013 trip to Walt Disney World when the theme park hosted its Frozen Summer. “I have to say I did OK and would do it again just not where anyone knows me,” she said with a laugh. Several years later, she still spends a lot of time by the ice, serving as the accounting manager for the Sewell-based Hollydell Ice Arena. While she may not be lacing up the skates, the Deptford Township resident makes sure that others, especially those with a disability, are presented with the opportunity. It includes the annual Everybody Skates event, which took place for the fifth time in March, and included a DJ, face painter, crafts and coloring for children and more. “I thought it would be a good idea to host an event at Hollydell where everyone could get out on the ice and have the opportunity to ice skate,” Andrelczyk said. It includes her daughter Marisa, who was diagnosed with Spina bifida, a birth defect where there is an incomplete closing of the backbone and the membranes around the spinal cord.


The family joined the Spina Bifida Resources Network based out of Flemington because Andrelczyk said her now 20-year-old daughter “wanted to belong to a group that could relate to her disability. ” The group holds regular fundraisers and walks, but mostly in the Central and Northern sections of the state. Everybody Skates, which is an opportunity for those who reside in the South Jersey area and beyond, continues to grow on a yearly basis. “The first year it was just our organization that joined us but now its open to anyone with a disability that would like to come out to skate,” Andrelczyk said. Of course, seeing those children skating together on the ice and enjoying themselves is “such an amazing feeling.” “For a few short hours they get to forget about their disabilities. They are skaters whether they use a wheelchair, sled or skates. It’s a great feeling knowing I have made a difference in their lives, even if its just for a few hours,” Andrelczyk said. “I have seen kids form new friendships at the event that are still going strong five years later, so for the event it goes beyond the ice as well.”

Bet h Elwood

ometimes one personal experience, whether it’s good or bad, is all it takes to inspire an amazing idea in which the primary missions is to assist others in need. Glassboro resident Beth Elwood used the ups and downs of personal journey with cancer as the inspiration to create a nonprofit called Hearts United Against Cancer. “I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 at the age of 33,” Elwood said. “My treatment took a little over a year and consisted of numerous surgeries and chemotherapy treatments. “I am very fortunate in that I have an amazing circle of family and friends that rallied around my husband, young children (ages 6 and 3 at the time), and helped us in a variety of ways during that difficult year” The meaningful gifts that she received served as the jumping off point for the nonprofit’s mission, which is to deliver comfort and support to Cancer Heroes — any man, women or child who is bat18 ­­­ | GLOUCESTER COUNTY LIVING | MAY 2016


tling cancer — through the organization’s Care & Comfort Bundle program. “An average of 320 Bundles are delivered monthly to Cancer Heroes at 18 hospitals and treatment centers in our local tri-state area. Thirty bundles are also shipped to two pediatric hospitals along the East Coast on a monthly basis, Elwood said. “Personalized Bundles are delivered or shipped to individual Cancer Heroes, based on request. We average 20 personalized requests being delivered or shipped to Cancer Heroes every month.” Elwood said her mother-in-law’s fight with breast cancer a few years after her own brought home how helpless one feels when a loved one is going through treatment. “The dream in my heart was to find a way to bring cheer and joy to cancer patients; to let them know that people care and to show them their not alone,” she said. Sure enough, in June 2014, Hearts Unit-

ed Against Cancer was born, and in less than two years, the organization has delivered or shipped more than 5,000 Bundles to Cancer Heroes across 31 states. Her husband, who has been her best friend for 24 years and a “rock star” during the treatment and surgeries, also performs an active role, serving as vice president, website coordinator and a member of the fundraising and marketing Committee. “When I told him of my idea for H.U.A.C. he fully supported my dream and has

given many hours of his time to turn that dream into the growing non-profit it is today,” Elwood said. Volunteers can also help by participating in a variety of events that take place throughout the year, including a Care & Comfort Bundle event that is taking place on June 11 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. (St. Charles Borromeo Church in Sicklerville). Anyone interested in volunteering can e-mail or call 856-981-0960.

Mayor Barbara A. Wallace WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP

Amy Leso


Amy Leso is one woman who can truly say her life has been filled with drama, and it has been extremely entertaining every step of the way. This standout individual, who was born and raised in West Deptford, runs the drama club at Orchard Valley Middle School. “I have a passion for theatre and I enjoy sharing that passion with my students,” Leso said. “Often the students in my drama classes are unfamiliar with drama/theatre and are hesitant about taking the class, but soon find that it is a very diverse subject area where their creativity can come to life! They find that theatre is so much more than just saying lines on a stage.  I enjoy teaching them how to develop a play or musical from the first cast reading through to the final performance.  I enjoy watching my students master dialogue, blocking, choreography and music and then be proud of what they have accomplished.” Leso’s behind-the-scenes role also includes advising the stage crew, which is in charge of operating the lights, sound, music, sets and curtain. The students recently performed their annual spring musical “Anything Goes.” The group is currently preparing for its final performance of the year, a dinner theatre show that will take place on May 25. But no matter words appear in the script, Leso pre-


When Barbara A. Wallace, her husband and their two small children at the time moved to Washington Township 46 years ago, she decided it was imperative to learn the culture, educational system and social and sports activities. Wallace accomplished this by joining the Wedgwood Women’s Club, bridge club and attended monthly meetings at the high school, as well as board meetings. “I quickly realized that I was not the only person interested in these issues,” she said. Several decades later, she continues to keep a very close eye and ear on Washington Township’s issues on a daily basis, as it comes with the turf of being Mayor Barbara A. Wallace. The Democrat has been in office since 2011, and it’s a position that can be challenging at times. “I have, however, surrounded myself with a great team of very talented and qualified people who also want the best for Washington Township and its residents,” Wallace said. But making an impact in her community started long before her days as mayor. She is a founding member of the Washington Township Education Foundation and the Wedgwood Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization, as well as a charter member of the township’s Rotary Breakfast Club. Of

pares her young learners for future chapters in life. “The best life lesson I can share with my students is that hard work and dedication will ultimately allow them to reach their goals,” Leso, who has also served as the West Deptford High School girls’ soccer assistant varsity coach for the last 20 years, said. “… My students spend countless hours in rehearsals and see the reward of a great performance.” Leso’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, as she was named the Orchard Valley Middle School 2015 Teacher of the Year.  Her principal, Dr. Steven Gregor, would later notify her that she received the honor of 2015 NJ Exemplary Secondary Educator. “I was both surprised and humbled because I work with many amazing educators - all of whom are very deserving of this award.  It was an incredible honor.  What I find most rewarding about being a teacher is seeing my former students and other youth that I have mentored go on to work in the field of theatre or in one case become a theatre teacher at a local high school,” Leso said.   But she is also extremely involved with the West Deptford Township community, serving as a member of the Recreation Advisory Board and West Deptford Little Theatre Board of Directors (costume director and compliance officer). Whenever her community calls, she is ready to fill the role. It includes directing the Miss West Deptford Township Scholarship Pageant, which offers scholarships to young women of West Deptford while providing the young girls an opportunity to participate in the glamour and fun of pageantry, and coordinates West Deptford Family Fun Day.



course, the Girls Scouts, something Wallace had been a member of since second grade, also hold a special place in her heart. After moving to Washington Township, she immediately joined the Holly Shores Girls Scout Council as a cadette leader, and held weekly meetings in her home for more than 30 years. But officiating is something Wallace, who attended Glassboro State College (now Rowan University), also enjoys doing in the athletic competitions of field hockey, softball and gymnastics. She is a national gymnastics judge for USA-Gymnastics, and has been a volunteer with the New Jersey Special Olympics for more than 40 years, having shared in the start of the gymnastics program for special needs children.  Wallace currently serves on the board of New Jersey Special Olympics. But even with all of her titles and roles, Wallace always keeps her family, including her husband, retired New Jersey Supreme Court Associate Justice John E. Wallace Jr., five children, who were born and raised in Washington Township, and four grandchildren first on the list. “The Wallace family is a strong TEAM,” she said. “Everyone pitches in without being asked. I am organized, focused and give 100 percent to whatever challenge I accept.” 

MAY 2016 |


Women2016 Lorett a Winters GCL’s




oretta Winters still remembers her days of growing up in Philadelphia when her mother, Josefina, was always looking out for their fellow community members. She hailed from the Philippines and had no parents, brothers or sisters on American soil, so the community became her extended family. “If a neighbor was unemployed, she would buy extra clothing and extra food,” Winters recalled of her mother. “She was very conscious of the people and places around her. She did it out of the goodness of her heart.” Winters shares a similar outlook on life, but she is making her impact felt right here in Gloucester County. Besides calling Williamstown home for the last 40 years, she is one who takes great pride in her leadership roles as president of the Gloucester County NAACP chapter and advisory board position with the New Jersey Human Relations Council. Since becoming president of the Gloucester County NAACP in 2010, Winters, who also serves as second vice president of the New Jersey State Conference of the NAACP, has been focused on making the organization relevant again.There are times when the position involves addressing diversity while other times it’s about putting together a special event. Many of these topics are addressed at the monthly general membership meeting. June will be a very busy month for Winters and her fellow board members, as the organization is hosting a 1st

District Congressional Debate on June 2 at 6 p.m. at Rowan College at Gloucester County. Call it an informative session heading into the June 7 New Jersey Primary Election. “An active and informed citizenry is the keystone to a strong democracy. The NAACP continues its long-term commitment of providing opportunities to voters to access the candidates and their positions on the important issues that affect their communities,” Winters said. Winters is also extremely involved with organizing the annual Mayors’ Cup Celebrity Golf Tournament taking place June at the RiverWinds Golf Course (For more information, visit Besides helping her organization raise funds for its causes, the golf tournament helps the Gloucester County NAACP “support our commitment to the community we serve.”There will be a shotgun start at 1 p.m., but golf is just one aspect of this busy day that will be capped off with a dinner and scholarship presentation. Some Call of 2016 members will be presented with laptops and scholarships. “We like to give the tools (laptops) and resources (scholarships),” Winters said. No matter what the event or issue is, it’s quite clear that this community leader continues to follow in her mother’s footsteps. “I remember when I was younger my mother saying that it takes a village to raise a child,” Winters recalled. “In the city, your neighbors took care of you.”



eri Galati is a women with a vision, a vision for making Gloucester County a better place to live and work. Part of this mission is achieved through New Visions Networking, a group she co-founded several years ago with Krista Collings of BB&T. “I get joy out of helping others, plain and simple,” Galati, who has called South Harrison Township home for almost 20 years. “… I learn from others and I grow spiritually when I volunteer. I hope I am making a difference.”  Galati said one of the stipulations of New Visions Networking members, who meet once a month, is that everyone has to go above and beyond for their community to make it a bit better today than yesterday. The group also chooses one or two organizations a year to collectively donate time and funds. One of them happens to Hearts United Against Cancer, which is run by fellow GCL Women of 20 ­­­ | GLOUCESTER COUNTY LIVING | MAY 2016

Gloucester County honoree Beth Elwood. The other is the YMCA. Galati, who works as a paralegal for Mattioni Ltd., is very active in the Swedesboro community in which the law firm is based, serving on the town’s Economic Development Committee and as a member of the Greater Swedesboro Business Association. One of her tasks has included sitting on the golf outing committee (this year’s event is taking place May 26 at Town and Country Golf Links in Woodstown). All of the funds raised go right back into the community, including $12,000 given to the Gloucester County Library System for new computers.  Family is equally as important to Galati, who has five children and one grandchild. Her husband of 25 years, Stephen, is a lawyer at Mattioni. Their children have picked up on the importance of helping others, as they have worked with the Special Olympics, the Alzheimer’s Asso-

ciation, children with cancer as a camp counselor, a fireman, local civic organizations and theater companies. When people ask why, it’s certainly not about the recognitions. “I have said this to others it is very selfish why I do the things I do,” Galati said. “I get joy out of helping others, plain and simple. My life is enriched because others are on the journey with me and allow me to be on their journey.”  But the one person missing from this

journey is her daughter Shayla, who died as a stillborn. In her honor, Galati started a small crochet club called “Cardinal and Billy Bird Creations.” The group crochet blankets for the babies and their siblings, and leaves them at the hospital (anonymously) where she had Shayla. No matter what the cause, Galati tends to avoid words like “special” and “spectacular.“  “I am just living my life the best I know how,” she said.


1School Bunker Hill Middle sixth-grade students pose in front of a flowering cherry tree that was planted on school grounds in tribute to former science teacher Louise Pepe, who taught science in the district for 25 years before her passing on September 21, 2015.


The Washington Township High School girls’ lacrosse team gathered around WTHS junior and brain cancer survivor Kevin Andreas while making a donation in his name to Alex’s Lemonade Stand in support of pediatric cancer research.

3 Glassboro third-graders Willow Heckert, Eliza-


beth Heggan and Hanna Juma (front row, left to right) won the sixth Annual Dorothy L. Bullock School Invention Competition and will go on to compete in the Education Information Resource Center’s Regional Student Inventions Through Education Contest at the FAA Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township on  May 20.



Washington Township High School boys soccer head coach Shane Snyder (left) and softball head coach Tracy Burkhart recently were recognized as the 2015 New Jersey State Coaches of the Year in their respective sports at the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association Banquet. Burkhart also won the distinction in 2013. 


3 MAY 2016 |




Pitman takes center stage in May

This historic Gloucester County town has a treasured past, but it continues to maintain its position in the spotlight.


ake a stroll down Broadway. We are not talking about spending a day in the Big Apple with hopes of landing a ticket to see “Hamilton,” “The Book of Mormon” or another popular show of choice. Broadway in Pitman is the center of the Gloucester County action, which includes the historic Broadway Theatre of Pitman that originally opened in 1926. It operated as a fully equipped movie and vaudeville theater with 1,090 seats, including a balcony and eight boxes. It was created in a French Revival motif by the Philadelphia firm of Eberhard, Magaziner and Harris. The building still has its original 3/8 Kimball theatre pipe organ — a unique instrument for its size. The likes of Bob Hope, Abbott & Costello, George Burns and Gracie Allen, George Carlin and Kenny Rogers have all appeared on stage here. Today, it is home to theatre productions (including children’s shows) and life performances, with some of this month’s events listed in the Goings On section (see page 6). But this town’s story began long before any of these famous performers came to town. The area known as Pitman Grove is on the New Jersey and National Register of Historical Places. According to the Borough of Pitman website, it was developed from a summer camp meeting at the turn of the century. In the center of the Grove area is the Camp Meeting Auditorium that was built in 1882 and recently renovated by the Borough.  This historic building was once the center of Methodist worship.   The website also notes that there are 12 "avenues" representing the disciples of Christ that are joined to the auditorium as spokes on the hub of a wheel. There is a spot in the tabernacle where one can stand and look down all 12 avenues.  Eventually, this is where the small cottages were built and led to the origin of the town. In 1905, Pitman Grove became the Borough of Pitman. Back then, Pitman was known as a place with no mosquitoes, no malaria and no saloons. To this day, Pitman remains a dry town with no liquor stores or liquor licenses issued. The mosquitoes, on the other hand, are a different story. With this being the Women of Gloucester County issue, it's only fitting that we touch on a young actress who has made it big outside of her Gloucester Countybased hometown. She is a rising

television star who was the 2010 winner of the Miss Pitman crown. Madeline Brewer made her small screen debut three years later on the hit Netflix original series "Orange Is the New Black." She appeared in seven episodes as Tricia Miller. "Stalker," “Hemlock Grove" and "Grimm" are a few of her other acting credits. Switching gears to athletics, one of the greatest basketball players ever to come out of Gloucester County called Pitman home. Joe Crispin spent a brief stint in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns before playing overseas in Italy, Turkey, Spain, Greece and other countries. The current Rowan University assistant men's and women's basketball coach left a lasting impression and Pitman High School, leading his team to the 1997 State Group I crown. Crispin, who graduated with a Gloucester County record of 2.651 career points, was inducted into the Pitman High School Hall of Fame in ’13.  Now that spring has arrived. residents around town will be coming together for some very special events, The Greater Pitman Chamber of Commerce is preparing for its May 14 Spring Craft Show, in the heart of the downtown area (Broadway and Pitman Avenue). This event, which has been a town tradition for more than 30 years, boasts 200-plus crafters, all displaying their handmade wares. Thousands of shoppers are expected to be strolling the streets between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.  May also marks the first of several Fourth Fridays (taking place on May 27), which will continue through November. For three hours, between 6 and 9 p.m., residents and visitors can take a stroll along Broadway and enjoy live music, great shops, good restaurants and plenty of fun. For more information on either event, visit  But one does not need to wait for a special occasion as a reason to stroll through town, as there is plenty to do year-round. Residents and out-of-towners will find antique shops, delis, clothing stores, gift shops and more. Younger community members enjoy collecting trading cards of their local police officers, complete with name, rank and bio. While the shows at appearing at the Broadway Theatre and other events around town may have time restrictions, the overall story about Pitman will continuing going strong for decades to come. ■

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