by Phil Stilton
JACKSON-Over 1,200 readers voted in November in the inaugural JTOWN Magazine “People’s Choice Awards”.
Over 40 individuals, businesses and charities were nominated by the public in our online Facebook page, Jackson,NJ (Over 5,400 members). Of those 40, four were chosen by our readers.
After Maureen Olsen lost her son Chase Ryan to cancer, she become devoted to supporting childhood cancer charities and awareness around Jackson. She started the Chase Ryan Olsen Foundation in memory of her son.
She was the driving force behind Jackson’s “Paint the Town Gold” initiative that has raised awareness of childhood cancer in the township exponentially. Sports teams across Jackson wear gold ribbons, shoe laces, socks to raise money for cancer based charities and to keep the memory of those children the township has lost alive.
Mayor Michael Reina has served as Jackson’s mayor for 8 years and has been one of the town’s most liked mayors in recent history. Reina has been open in his support of everything that is Jackson from veterans to childhood illness awareness to youth sports programs. Reina is a fixture at many community events and has been a hands on mayor when it comes to being part of the community since before he took office.
Reina and his wife Laura take the efforts of charities such as the Chase Ryan Olsen Foundation personally as their own granddaughter Angelina has been battling childhood cancer for several years.
Farley’s Ice Cream was chosen as business of the year. Owner John Burnetsky is a long time community supporter, president of the Jackson Liberty Band Association and a member of the Jackson School Board.
The James Volpe Foundation is another foundation that had its start after a tragedy. After Jackson Memorial student James Volpe died in a car crash, his father Anthony, mother Christine and brother Justin, along with family and friends began raising money in James’ name to support James’ most passionate interest, youth sports and baseball. The foundation raises money to help sports teams and has donated a driving simulator to promote safe driving among students learning to drive in the school. The foundation helps fund sports equipment for volunteer and school teams and assists under privileged athletes pay for sports fees when needed.
The poll was conducted by JTOWN Magazine and the Shore News Network. The poll application software was managed by Code Rubik, Inc. a third party application developer based out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.