NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP >> The Newtown Township Police Department publicly recognized three officers at the Oct. 10 meeting of the board of supervisors, one for saving the life of a juvenile and two others for reaching service milestones within the department.

On behalf of the board of supervisors and the police department, Chief John Hearn presented the first award to Officer Shane VanDerMark, commending him for “extraordinary off-duty actions” taken on August 10 while vacationing at a waterpark in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Hearn said VanDerMark responded after an unconscious young girl was pulled out of a water pool by young lifeguards.

“Without hesitation Officer VanDerMark jumped into action and assisted lifeguards while properly performing several life saving measures until she was successfully revived,” said the Chief.

The juvenile was subsequently transported to the hospital for evaluation and treatment.

“Undoubtedly the actions of Officer VanDerMark saved the young girl’s life as confirmed by the resort management,” said Hearn. “Your actions under extreme, dramatic circumstances are in keeping with the traditions maintained by the Newtown Township Police Department. Outstanding job, officer.”

VanDerMark received a standing ovation and prolonged applause as he made his way to the front of the meeting room to accept the commendation.

Hearn also recognized two officers - Renee Hurst and Sgt. Stephen J. Meyers - who have given a combined 65 years of service to the department.

Renee Hurst has dedicated 25 years of service to the police department, according to Hearn.

Hurst was sworn in as a full-time police officer on Feb. 9, 1994 and was assigned as a School Resource Officer to Council Rock High School North in 1999 and has remained in that position ever since.

“She has continuously developed a positive rapport with the students and the faculty and has contributed greatly to the success of the program and to the police department’s relationship with the community and the school,” said the Chief. “We commend her for her dedication to keeping Newtown Township and the schools safer and for her hard work and her service to the Newtown Township Police Department.”

Sgt. Meyers has dedicated 40 years of service to the police department, announced Hearn.

Meyers was sworn in as a full-time police officer with the department on Sept. 10, 1979.

“Steve, as a strong proponent of community policing, has received numerous letters of thanks and praise from residents and businessowners in the community. In addition to his other duties, Steve served the community as a D.A.R.E. and Teen program instructor for several years frequently speaking to and developing a positive rapport with the students and faculty of the Council Rock School District.”

Reading from the commendation, Hearn said, “On behalf of the community he has served, the supervisors of Newtown Township commends Steve Meyers for his dedication in keeping Newtown safer and for his hard work and service to the Newtown Township Police Department.”

Both officers received standing ovations and applause from the audience, which included a strong showing of officers from the department.

They also received commendations from State Senator Steve Santarsiero and State Rep. Perry Warren who were on hand to recognize the officers on their service milestones.

Santarsiero presented both with commendations from the State Senate of Pennsylvania and a Commonwealth flag flown over the state Capitol in Harrisburg in their honor.

State Rep. Perry also presented the two with citations from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives commending their service to Newtown Township.

“On behalf of the state legislature, a big thank you to the Chief. You’re doing an excellent job. And to all the officers of Newtown Township for all the work they do day in and day out,” said Santarsiero.

“I know a lot of times you don’t get that kind of feedback and a lot of residents don’t think about it on a regular basis, but the truth is they know when they are in trouble you are there for them, Santarsiero continued. “So on their behalf, I want to thank you for what you do day in and day out.”

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