For the ninth year, the state troopers of the Kingwood station have reached out to give an impressive stack of carefully chosen gifts to a carefully chosen Del Val student.
The student, Theo Baransky of Milford, N.J., was chosen by the members of the faculty, and the gifts were chosen by Trooper Joe Seidler, who is Del Val’s resource officer.
This tradition was started by Trooper Mike Guenther, when he was resource officer, in collaboration with his father, Frank Guenther, Del Val’s director of special services.
Seidler explained that the holidays bring an opportunity to “bridge the gap between us and the community,” and to “make the holidays a little brighter.”
After donations had been collected in the Kingwood station, Seidler “asked Theo’s mom what he’s into – collecting CDs, and listening to music.” Then he went shopping and wrapped up the presents. They included a portable DVD player; a DVD carrying case; a Bluetooth speaker; gift certificates to ShopRite and Spin Me Round, his favorite video game store; ear buds; a state police sweatshirt with various NJSP merchandise; and a stuffed Totoro – a friendly anime monster that Theo favors.
Theo’s well-wishers, crowded into Frank Guenther’s office, included Theo’s parents, Daniel Baransky and Karen Rankin-Baransky, Principal Adrienne Olcott, school psychologist Jon Lyman, and teachers, aides and students. Besides Seidler, the Kingwood State Police contingent was station commander Lt. Sean O’Conner, patrol sergeant Scott Feldman and office manager Cindy Williamson, plus Trooper Guenther.
Frank Guenther said later, “Our men and women in blue reach into their hearts and souls for all of us on a daily basis and, as recently demonstrated, are willing to give up their lives so that we can celebrate the holidays with our families in the warmth and safety of our homes. The title ‘school resource officer’ sums it up, as those who serve this calling are there for the community in more ways than many realize.”
He added, “I heard on the radio today that there is a holiday movement asking families to put a blue candle in the window during the holiday season to show solidarity for our noble public servants” and he recommends the practice.