Twp. finishes relief effort
Ocean Springs 'grateful' for outreach endeavors

By Kamala Lane; Correspondent

GLOUCESTER TWP. - Gloucester Township's three-year effort to help a Mississippi town devastated by Hurricane Katrina was commemorated at the April 28 council meeting.Mayor Cindy Rau-Hatton and council proclaimed April 26 to May 2 as Rev. Carl King Week to mark the end of the township's initiative to raise funds for Ocean Springs, Miss.

As evangelism pastor of Crossroads Church of the Nazarene in Ocean Springs, Rev. King accepted the honor on behalf of his community. The former drill sergeant expressed his gratitude as he shared his community's progress with those in attendance.

"I can't express just how we appreciate the ways you've gone about showing compassion to our community," King said. "We have homes going up every day and new roofs being installed every day."

To further acknowledge the final week of the outreach efforts, the township hosted events that included a "dine-out" at 14 participating restaurants, a youth program at First Baptist Church in Blackwood, and a prayer observance at the municipal building.

In September 2005, Councilwoman Shelley Lovett was instrumental in jumpstarting the fundraising campaign. While presenting the proclamation to Rev. King, Rau-Hatton marveled at the residents' tireless efforts that continued beyond the first year.

"I'm inspired and proud of how our township responded to that call," she said.

Although he admitted that Ocean Springs "has a lot of work to do still," King said that he urges his fellow residents to maintain their gratitude.

"They always say, 'How do you spell it (Gloucester)?' I tell them it doesn't matter," he said. "Every time you see a New Jersey license plate, just thank the Lord that you have friends here you didn't know you had."

The 2008 Gloucester Township Katrina Relief Task Force Members included RauHatton, Rev. Rick Lyon, Rev. Mike Atzert, Vanessa Lowery, Tracey Trotto, Kim Capone, Heather Moran, David Hinlicky, Anthony Petruzzelli and Theresa Williams.