Abington residents gathered Thursday night at the North Hills Country Club to honor “pillars of the community” as part of the Abington Community Taskforce’s annual Citizens That Care reception.
Abington Police Lt. Pat Molloy emceed the event — he’s on his way to becoming the Billy Crystal of the event, having presided over it last year. Prior to opening the event, he took some time off in the lobby.
Molloy has an interesting tie to the event. The Abington Community Taskforce was created in 1994, following the murder of Eddie Polec. Molloy was an alumnus of Cardinal Dougherty High School, where Polec had attended.
“During the opening remarks, I’m going to refer to Eddie Polec because he went to the same high school I went to and I was actually in the police academy during the murder. I had a kinship with him — he was a Cardinal Dougherty kid and also an altar boy, like myself. And that murder is kind of what inspired people to get together [and form ACT] in Abington.
“It was weird for me,” Molloy continued, “because I was in the academy, and I was still kind of out of high school — and I have that Cardinal Dougherty connection, and then I go into a community that’s called ‘murder high.’”
Molloy said though the circumstances were sad, Philadelphia got a revamped 911 system out of the tragedy and Abington got a chance to replace the “murder high” headlines with ones that read “Best Places to Live.”
Those honored Thursday night include:
- The Rev. Jerome Coleman, First Baptist Church of Crestmont
- Jenkintown Day Nursery
- Ellen DeRosa, Aldersgate Prevention Coordinator
- Michael Sandler, Abington Junior High School teacher and Teens Against Drugs and Alcohol (TADA) advisor for 24 years.
- The Kiwanis Club of Glenside received the Community Builder Award
- Students Jessica Marinucci and Andrew Van Buren received the Julia Greenbaum Memorial ACT Student Community Service Award
- Colin Bruton received the ACT Good Samaritan Award