UPPER CHICHESTER — William Penn Lodge #19, Fraternal Order of Police, honored more than 50 current and former Chester police officers during a Jan. 18 ceremony at the Phoenix Ballroom in Boothwyn. The retirement and awards ceremony marked the lodge’s first since 2015.
More than 100 persons were in attendance for the event. Police personnel and their family and friends were joined by officials including city Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland and Chief Financial Officer Nafis Nichols, and Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer.
“It’s been a while since we’ve come together in this way but that does not discredit the years of work that tonight’s honorees have put in,” lodge President Jonathan Ross said in his opening remarks. “We are a small lodge. Some of us have made a life’s work serving as an officer. That is why it’s important for us to honor our officers— that is why we are here tonight.”
Twenty-four current police officers were presented with certificates of recognition for various accomplishments during the 2019 year. Those accomplishments included presentations of the Exceptional Service Award, Merit Commendation, and Life Saving Award. Among the recipients, Capt. John Gretsky and Capt. Matthew Goldschmidt were recognized twice for different acts of service.
Twenty-seven former police officers who retired between the years 2015 through 2019 were also honored during the ceremony. Each retired officer received an 8 by 10 plaque, a Citizen watch, and a personalized badge. The plaques each contained the former officer’s years of service to the Chester Police Department.
James Ianni, 84, a retired sergeant who served with the department from 1967-1987, was the oldest police veteran in attendance. “I know many of you have been away from the department for multiple years, but it’s never too late to put that uniform back on and help us out, and this includes you, Mr. Ianni,” Kirkland said in jest during his remarks.
“Whether you’re retired or currently serving this city, I want you all to know that we appreciate you. Often times our men and women who are charged to protect us, do so not knowing what the day ahead may bring,” he said. “I thank not only our officers, but your families, for lending your loved ones to this community.”
Stollsteimer highlighted the county’s commitment to partnering with Chester during his remarks. Stollsteimer also offered praise for the work of former Chester Police Chief James Nolan IV, whom he brought on this month as head of the county Criminal Investigation Division. “I’m the one who put Jimmy in retirement from this department by promoting him to chief detective with CID,” he said. “I wanted to make sure we had someone on the team with a proven track record. By hiring Jimmy I did just that.”
“We care so much about what goes on in the city of Chester and you all are the force behind the city. We are going to make sure we bring resources to you from the county level,” Stollsteimer said.
Current officers recognized during the ceremony were: Officers Jose Alvarez, Robert Ticknor, Jeffrey Abreu, Geoffrey Walls, John Benozich, Timothy Garron, Marc Barag, Zachary Litvinenko, Robert Schrock, Charles Stevens, Jennifer Jones, William Murphy, Adam Youssef, Matthew Donohue and Jeffrey Linowski; Detectives Victor Heness, Joseph McFate and Thomas; Cpl. Michael Maher; captains John Gretsky (recipient of two awards) and Capt. Matthew Goldschmidt (recipient of two certificates).
Retired officers recognized were: Darren Alston, Anita Amaro, Joseph Bail Jr., Robert Blythe, Charles Bothwell, Calvin Butcher, James Carr, James Collins, Nelson Collins, Alan Davis, George Gizzi, Lamont Graves, Robert Jones, Nicholas Kruczaj, John Kuryan, Marilyn Lee, Willie McKinzie Jr., Patrick Mullen, James Nolan IV, Todd Nuttall, Nicholas Repace, William Shaw, Michael Trasatti, Robert Weigand, Lawrence Weigand and Robert Whitaker.