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Morris County Sheriff’s Office Investigator and Madison Police Officer Surprise Family With A New Basketball Hoop to Replace Their Destroyed Former Hoop

   Morris County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Phil Masi and Madison Borough Police Officer Kyle McDermott brought joy into the lives of a borough family on Sept. 21 when they surprised the household’s youths with a new, portable basketball hoop to replace their own that was destroyed in August by Tropical Storm Isaias.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Madison Police Officer Kyle McDermott, and Sheriff's Office Investigator Phil Masi with family members to whom they presented a new basketball hoop in Madison on Sept. 21, 2020.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Madison Police Officer Kyle McDermott, and Sheriff’s Office Investigator Phil Masi with family members to whom they presented a new basketball hoop in Madison on Sept. 21, 2020.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon accompanied Investigator Masi and Officer McDermott, who were assisted by Sheriff’s Officer Will Diaz when they delivered the basketball hoop with a 50-inch steel-framed, shatterproof backboard to the family. The mother knew the gift, purchased from Dick’s Sporting Goods, was on its way but her children — and some curious neighbors who wondered why police vehicles were in the neighborhood — were pleasantly stunned.

“This is so cool, so nice.  It’s such a moving gesture. Especially now, it makes this time more bearable,” said the mother of three sons and a daughter between the ages of 15 and 21.

“I just think this is really cool. It’s a really nice surprise,” the beaming 15-year-old said.

The boxed, new portable basketball hoop purchased by Morris County Sheriff's Office Investigator Phil Masi and Madison Police Officer Kyle McDermott to replace the destroyed hoop visible behind the box.
The boxed, new portable basketball hoop purchased by Morris County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Phil Masi and Madison Police Officer Kyle McDermott to replace the destroyed hoop visible behind the box.

The family’s former basketball hoop was positioned on the side of Sunset Place, where it served as a daily, popular gathering point for neighborhood youths.  Investigator Masi and Officer McDermott frequently saw youths around the hoop, dribbling and making dunk shots, so when the exuberance ended after Tropical Storm Isaias twisted and toppled the hoop they decided to take action.

Investigator Masi knocked on the family’s door recently and offered to replace the hoop. He enlisted the help of Officer McDermott, with whom he has maintained a friendship since they graduated together from the Morris County Police Academy.

Madison Police Officer Kyle McDermott with Morris County Sheriff's Office Investigator Phil Masi.
Madison Police Officer Kyle McDermott with Morris County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Phil Masi.

“I didn’t have a second thought about it. One thing that goes with being a Police Officer is helping out the community,” Investigator Masi said.

Sheriff Gannon said he was proud of how Investigator Masi and Officer McDermott wanted the family and neighborhood youths to resume an activity they clearly enjoy.

“This is simply about neighbors helping neighbors. It really is. I couldn’t be prouder of these guys and what they represent. This is what I know police work to be. I started out walking a beat almost 40 years ago. That’s what they’re doing, being out in the community, being guardians of the people. It’s sort of breathtaking when something like this happens. It’s more than a basketball game,” Sheriff Gannon said.

 

In Memory of Their Late Son, Long Valley Couple Donates $3,500 to Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One Program and Washington Township First Responders

A Long Valley couple that founded the charity Joshua’s Peace in memory of their late son made a generous donation of $3,500 on Friday to the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One mobile outreach program, the Washington Township Police Department, and other first responder organizations.

From left, Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Lt. Laura Flynn, Certified Peer Recovery Specialist Andrew Davidson, Morris County Sheriff's Office Corporal Erica Valvano, Mark Broadhurst, Maria Broadhurst, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Mental Health Case Manager Al Shurdom.
From left, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Lt. Laura Flynn, Certified Peer Recovery Specialist Andrew Davidson, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Erica Valvano, Mark Broadhurst, Maria Broadhurst, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Mental Health Case Manager Al Shurdom.

Mark and Maria Broadhurst, whose 24-year-old son, Joshua, died on December 6, 2019, of an accidental overdose, presented Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and his Hope One team with a $1,000 donation during a Hope One stop outside the Long Valley Pharmacy in Washington Township.

The Broadhursts also presented Washington Township Police Chief Jeffrey Almer and Township Mayor Matt Murillo with a $1,000 donation from Joshua’s Peace. Additional donations of $500 each are being given to the Washington Township P.B.A., the Long Valley First Aid Squad, and Washington Township Fire Departments.

By creating Joshua’s Peace, the Broadhursts pledged to invest in programs and organizations that educate others about substance abuse, assist in rehabilitation, and work to eradicate stigmas that can be associated with asking for help.

“I think it’s very heartwarming that a family that has gone through such a tragedy is able to look forward and see there’s a huge problem out here.  They dug down and are looking to help other people.  I’m in awe of the family.  Joshua’s memory will always be attached to the Hope One truck as it goes around the county, the state and the nation. Joshua’s memory will always be in our hearts,” Sheriff Gannon said.

Mark and Maria Broadhurst, founders of Joshua's Peace, in memory of their late son, Joshua, who died on Dec. 6, 2019 of an accidental overdose.
Mark and Maria Broadhurst, founders of Joshua’s Peace, in memory of their late son, Joshua, who died on Dec. 6, 2019 of an accidental overdose.

Mark Broadhurst said he loves Hope One’s approach of going out into the community in a nonjudgmental style.

“We appreciate all that you, the Sheriff, and Hope One is doing.  We are in awe because not only are you saving lives, you’re spreading a message that is so important to us. You approach the issue from a point of compassion and provide hope,” Mr. Broadhurst said.

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One mobile outreach program was launched on April 3, 2017, to bring free Narcan training and critical mental health and addiction resources and treatment options to people living in communities across the county.

Mark and Maria Broadhurst with Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon on September 18, 2020.
Mark and Maria Broadhurst with Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon on September 18, 2020.

As of Friday, the Hope One team has made 14,468 contacts, assisted 189 people into rehab and recovery programs and another 154 people with mental health services.  The team has trained 2,790 people in how to administer Narcan to reverse an opioid-induced overdose.

The Broadhursts in July also donated $560 to the Long Valley Food Pantry, or $10 for every resident that completed Narcan training offered by the Hope One team.

The Broadhursts started Joshua’s Peace to honor their son, “shed a loving light on the disease of addiction,” and spread the face that addiction doesn’t discriminate.  Their son was very close to his parents and siblings and heavily interested in nutrition, body-building and the beach.  He was sober for four years before he relapsed and accidentally overdosed on heroin that was laced with fentanyl.

 

Morris County Sheriff Stresses Available Resources During National Suicide Prevention Month

Deaths by suicide in Morris County are 52 percent higher so far this year than recorded over the same time period in 2019.

As of September 15, 2020, 32 individuals have died by suspected suicide, compared to 21 individuals by that date in 2019 in Morris County.  With more than 100 days left in this calendar year, overall suicides this year have exceeded by five the 27 deaths attributed to suicide in all of 2019.

Morris County Sheriff Stresses Available Resources During National Suicide Prevention Month

Emphasizing Morris County’s stigma-free philosophy, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon stressed that services are available and ready to minister to individuals who are in despair or feeling disengaged from family, friends and healthy relationships.  Resources are available year-round though attention is directed to them in September, during National Suicide Prevention Month.

The COVID-19 pandemic, social isolation, unexpected deaths and inability to freely grieve at funerals coupled with job losses, civil unrest and uncertainty about the future have created a maelstrom that can overwhelm the psyche.

“Major disruptions and stress in people’s lives, as many have felt this year, can seriously damage mental and emotional well-being. Social distancing can lead to a disconnection from others and many people have not been able to mourn deaths with traditional wakes and funerals. There are resources to turn to and people who can help others cope, no matter who they are,” Sheriff Gannon said.

Tracy Klingener, Director of Suicide Prevention Services for the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris, said COVID-19 has cut many people off from direct contact with family and friends. Without face-to-face encounters, warning signs that others are depressed or feeling hopeless can go undetected, she said.Morris County Sheriff Stresses Available Resources During National Suicide Prevention Month

“Without face to face interaction, people are not having the conversations they may have previously had with others,” she said.

“At a time like this, people may be in a state of intense tunnel vision about their problems and their lives.  It’s important to remind people that ‘You’re not alone. We’re in this together,” Director Klingener said.

A Morris County Sheriff's Office Hope One mobile outreach team
A Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One mobile outreach team

Mental health and overcoming addiction is a cornerstone of Sheriff Gannon’s administration, which launched the Hope One mobile addiction and mental health outreach program on April 3, 2017.

Hope One is partnered with the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris, which links individuals with treatment services, education and wellness programs. One or more trained mental health advocates are present on every HOPE ONE trip into the community and since April 2017, have connected at least 151 people to mental health services.

 

RESOURCES:

  • Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One program: 973-590-0300;
  • Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris: 973-334-3496;
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255;
  • Ricky’s Compass: https://www.rickyscompass.org/shatter-stigma
  • Crisis Text Line: Text the word TALK to 741-741;
  • NJ Hopeline: 855-654-6735;
  • Local meetings of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: https://dbsanewjersey.org/morristownarea/
  • Cop2Cop, a confidential, 24-hour help line for police officers and their families: 1-866-COP2COP.