Community reaches out amidst crisis

By Neil Schulman

Oceanport — As the coronavirus crisis continues, groups have reached out the the borough to help it.

At the March 19 Borough Council meeting, Dan Czermak, President of AcuteCare Health Systems which manages Beacon of Life, offered his assistance to the borough if needed. In his Monday report, Mayor Jay Coffey reported they were doing that, offering testing to borough volunteers.

The council meeting was one of the first where social distancing was practiced and people were participating online since the meeting was physically closed to the public.

“I just publicly want to offer support of Beacon of Life,” Czermak said, adding he had discussed the offer with Coffey and OEM Director Mauro “Buzz” Baldanza earlier.

On March 30, 12 people in Oceanport had tested positive — and Coffey pointed out those were only the ones who had gone for tests, not those who were staying home without testing but might still have it. And Coffey reported that Beacon of Life, located at the former hospital on Fort Monmouth, was ready to help. He said the facility “has agreed to provide COVID-19 testing services for Oceanport’s Emergency Service Providers starting this week.”

They have also said they will assist Oceanport’s seniors if necessary, particularly if there are problems within a senior complex.

The mayor added that Senator Vin Gopal had also reached out to the borough, donating 100 masks to the First Aid Squad and 25 to the Police Department.

Finally, a group has formed called Oceanport Community Helping Others (The OCHO), made of residents who wish to support each other in this time. Those who need assistance can contact them by e-mailing ( or posting on their Facebook Page (The OCHO – Oceanport Community Helping Others.