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Cranford PBA Honors Local Heroes and Helpers

Members of the PBA presented awards to officers as well as local residents and business people during its annual Silver Card and Awards Dinner last week.

President Steven D’Ambola emceed the Cranford Policemen’s Benevolent
Association Local 52’s Annual Silver Card and Awards Dinner held on March 12 at the Garlic Rose Bistro in Cranford.

Attending the evening’s ceremony were active and retired PBA members, Township Mayor Tom Hannen, and Honorary Silver Card Members Jerry Grillo, Barry O’Donovan, Jerry Dobbins, and Gene Matics. The ceremony began with the Pledge of Allegiance led by PBA Secretary Off. Tom Bell who also led the Union County Pipes and Drums Band in “God Bless America.”

This year, members of the Cranford PBA awarded a Silver Life Membership Card to retired Sgt. Christopher Chapman as well as Honorary Silver Card Memberships to Michael Flynn of Edward Jones Financial in Cranford and Kurt T. Petschow of Cranford Sunoco.

Michael Flynn was honored for his efforts in supporting the Cranford Police Department and its members, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in 2011. While his own business was subjected to the crippling effects of the Hurricane, Michael focused his daily efforts on providing food and support to the displaced members of the Cranford PBA. In addition to this, Michael was honored for his consistent dedication to providing financial guidance, advice, and customer service to members of the Cranford PBA.

Kurt T. Petschow was honored for his support of the Cranford PBA members subsequent to Hurricane Sandy in 2012. When fuel supply became rationed and most gas stations closed as a result of the Hurricane, the storm left thousands of Cranford residents without power or heat. Many of those residents affected by Hurricane Sandy’s wrath were first responders, including Cranford Policemen, Firemen and law enforcement professionals residing within Cranford. When First Responders found it increasingly difficult to refuel in order to travel to and from
work, the Petschow Family opened their business early and kept open late in order to provide First Responders the opportunity to refuel generators and vehicles.

President D’Ambola also awarded PBA Merit Awards for the following:

  • Officer Matthew Nazzaro and Off. Daniel Norton were recognized for a CPR save in April of 2012 after performing CPR on a Cranford resident.
  • Detective Ryan Greco, Det. John Swandrak and D/Sgt. Christopher Polito were recognized for apprehending a burglar actively breaking into a Cranford household in May of 2012. The suspect, a heroin addict, was found with almost $12,000 in cash and jewelry which was returned to its owner.
  • Officer Robert Jordan was recognized for effecting a gun arrest on a motor vehicle stop in March of 2012. The driver, attempting to conceal the butt of a loaded handgun next to the driver’s seat, was also found in possession of multiple bags of marijuana and additional rounds of ammunition in his pocket.
  • Officer Matthew Nazzaro, Officer Michael Dubitsky, and Sgt. Frank Williams were recognized for their efforts in successfully delivering a baby boy in a motor vehicle parked in a Municipal Parking Lot in August of 2012.
  • Sgt. Guy Patterson, D/Sgt. Chris Polito, Det. Ryan Greco, Det. Michael Andrews, Detective Russell Luedecker, Officer Spencer Durkin, Officer John Heesters, Officer William Pietrucha, Officer Timothy O’Brien and Officer John Colineri were recognized for their efforts in arresting three confirmed Bloods gang members who were actively burglarizing homes in Cranford in December of 2012. These arrests closed out many open burglary cases throughout Union County.
  • Detective Lt. James Wozniak, Detective Sgt. Christopher Polito, Detective John Swandrak, Detective Robert Montague, Detective Michael Andrews and Detective Ryan Greco were recognized for their lengthy undercover narcotics investigations throughout 2012 that led to four separate distribution cases. These cases resulted in the seizure of more than four pounds of marijuana, over 1,150 folds of heroin, 124 bag of crack-cocaine, the seizure of nearly $5,000 in cash, and the seizure of a motor vehicle.


President D’Ambola praised all of the officers for their efforts and said that he was “proud to serve along side of the men and women of the Cranford PBA everyday”. He added that “Michael Flynn and Kurt Petschow are well-deserving of this recognition as they have gone above and beyond for their local police officers.”

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