By John BurtonRED BANK – Police Chief Stephen G. McCarthy had a life that made a difference in the lives of so many others.The late Red Bank Police Chief Stephen G. McCarthy, shortly after becoming chief almost four years ago.On Monday a borough worker draped purple and black memorial bunting over the entrance of police headquarters and members of the department placed black ribbons across their uniform badges. As word spread that McCarthy had died earlier that morning, there was a palpable pall that seemed to spread over the department and community.Mayor Pasquale Menna saw it, felt it.“There was a real sense of loss” everywhere and with everyone he spoke, the mayor said, especially with members of the department who “were lost.”Menna, who seemed shaken by the chief’s death, went to headquarters later in the day, after conceding he wasn’t going to get any work done at his law office. He sat with those coming on duty for the night shift. “They seemed lost. I mean, they’re grown men; they know they have a job to do. But they didn’t know what to say, to do,” he said.Menna knew how they felt. “I can’t believe it. I never anticipated it would come this fast.”McCarthy, 50, had been chief since 2010. He had been battling a reoccurrence of thyroid cancer and was being treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, Menna said.McCarthy had been with the department for 27 years, coming up through the ranks, first as a patrolman. He headed the criminal investigation and detective bureaus before being named chief of the 40-member department.Red Bank Police Chief Stephen G. McCarthy is shown in this January 2010 file photo being sworn in as chief by Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mellaci Sr. as McCarthy’s wife Maryellen and children Matthew and Jenna look on. McCarthy lost his battle with cancer on Monday, Sept. 23.“Not only was he the best of any of the chiefs I had the privilege to work with – and we’ve had good ones in the 25 years I’ve been on the council and as mayor – but he was also, in my opinion, the poster of what chiefs should be throughout the whole state,” Menna said.Borough Council President and Police Commissioner Arthur V. Murphy III stressed, “He was a gentleman before he became chief.“He had a real decency,” Murphy said. “You don’t replace a guy like that.”Murphy and Menna met with McCarthy at the mayor’s home, some months back when it appeared the chief’s cancer had returned. McCarthy told the officials about his condition – and prognosis.“We spent much of the time crying like children,” Menna said.“We all knew what was coming,” Murphy said. “I couldn’t keep it in.”It was McCarthy who reached out and grabbed Murphy’s shoulder, asking, “Are you all right?”“He knew he was going down that path and “he asked me, if I was all right,” Murphy remembered.“We lost a really good individual, not only as a father and husband, but as a really great police officer,” said Mark Fitzgerald, who was chief and retired prior to McCarthy taking over and now is head of security for Riverview Medical Center. “He was a really decent individual.”Fitzgerald and McCarthy worked together in the police department for many years. “It was easy to tell from my position that, when he joined the police department, he had the capabilities of rising to the top and being a leader,” Fitzgerald said. “He was that type of person.“He was a natural leader – that was apparent from the beginning,” he said.Fitzgerald recalled when he told McCarthy’s father that one day his son would become chief. The senior McCarthy remembered that and reminded Fitzgerald of it when McCarthy was sworn in.“He was like a brother to many of us,” Monmouth County Acting Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni aid.Gramiccioni first met McCarthy when the prosecutor was with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and he and McCarthy were working on a case that had overlapping federal and local jurisdictions. “He was great at his job,” he said.The prosecutor was always struck by McCarthy’s diligence, but more profoundly, Gramiccioni said, “He had a real good heart.“We may be all good at our jobs but we all can’t be equally good-hearted people,” Gramiccioni said. “He was that double-whammy.”Police Captain Darren McConnell, a department veteran and friend called McCarthy “the picture of what you’d want a police officer, police chief and a person in general to be in the way he conducted himself every day.”McCarthy’s manner of dealing with people and situations was “in such a calm and compassionate way … that spread through the department,” McConnell said. “People looked up to him, the way he conducted himself.”Board of Education President Ben Forest agreed. Forest knew McCarthy since they both attended Monmouth Regional High School, though a year apart. When he became chief, McCarthy reached out to Forest and his wife Amy Goldsmith, president of the West Side Community Group, asking to meet with some west side residents and hear their concerns. He came to Forest’s home. “He sat and listened and I never had a police chief do that before,” Forest said. “Amy and I were very moved by that.”“He was bright, articulate; he had a quiet but strong presence,” Menna said. “One of the good ones is gone.” Stephen G. McCarthy, 50, of West Long Branch, and the chief of police for Red Bank, died Monday, Sept. 23.His accomplishments in law enforcement started in Rutgers University graduating with a degree in criminal justice. Later, he attended Kean University, obtaining a master’s in public administration. He was a graduate of the 2004 FBI National Academy (235th class), 2004 West Point Command and Leadership Program and The National Training Center of Polygraph Science. In 2010 he became the chief of police of Red Bank.Stephen was a member of numerous associations, including the Monmouth County and New Jersey State Associations of Chiefs of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He was an active member of the PBA Local 39.Above all, he was a devoted family man to his wife, children and parents. Stephen never missed one of his children’s games, one of his greatest joys.He is survived by his beloved wife Maryellen; his loving children, Matthew and Jenna; a brother, Robert; his parents Elizabeth and Stephen; his mother-in-law, Teresa Ferrigno; his in-laws, Chrissy and Jim Mellaci, Rob and Lisa Ferrigno; and numerous other relatives.Visitation was held at the John E. Day Funeral Home, Red Bank, on Thursday, Sept. 26. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at St. Michaels R.C. Church, West End. Interment will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Middletown.Donations in Stephen’s memory may be made to the Red Bank PBA–McCarthy Children’s College Fund at PO Box 39, Red Bank, NJ 07701 or online at: www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/redbankpbalocal39/redbank pbalocal39s-mccarthyschildrenfund.Please visit Stephen’s memorial website at www.johne dayfuneralhome.com.
It’s been 18 years since I’ve been a serious hockey fan. In 1993, the Montreal Canadiens went to the Stanley Cup – and won against Los Angeles. Back in those days, I was a big time Habs fan–something I got into when I was 14 and bored. And I was into it big time. I knew all the stats and I watched the Saturday night games in French because Radio Canada always had a Habs game on on Saturday, even when the CBC did not. It actually helped my French a lot, which I was a nice fringe benefit. By 1994, my life had changed. I actually got a life by going to university, and I became distracted by school life. I still followed hockey, but only peripherally. By the time I left school in 1998, I had transitioned from hockey fan to someone pretty indifferent about the sport. I guess it was just one of those teenage phase things. But it was about to bite me in the butt. I moved to Ottawa in 1998, and our nation’s capital has two things going on in it: politics and hockey. You cannot escape either of these things living in that city. Initially, I thought that perhaps living in a hockey town would reignite my passion for the sport. I did a bit of following (it was hard not to) but I found the game had changed, or–more realistically–my attitude towards it had changed. I got to attend one Senators game, against Buffalo, and found it to be a mildly interesting evening. Being there live in the crowd didn’t do much for me, and I found I missed the commentating because all I did was swivel my head from side to side during the game, and that was kind of boring. So, this experience confirmed for me that my teenaged passion for hockey was indeed a phase. Also, while I lived in Ottawa, I was an NFL widow, and if anything can turn one off of any professional sport at all, it’s watching a grown man have mock NFL drafts, accompanied by an online NFL draft clock, on the coffee table every evening, complete with potential draftees’ names on little bits of paper so that they could be easily moved around depending on where they might or might not be picked and by what team. It made me wish it was summer, so I could spitefully put the fan on and smugly watch the little bits of paper scatter all over the room. But I digress. I don’t live under a rock most of the time, so I am of course aware of the Canucks’ current pursuit of the coveted Stanley Cup. Because most of my favourite shows have gone on summer hiatus in the past few weeks (and some have been permanently cancelled, which is another rant for another time), I found my TV schedule needed some holes filled in. I found myself curious about the success of the Canucks, so I turned on game two of the Vancouver-San Jose series. Voluntarily! Now, I am a CBC Newsworld addict, but I am much chagrined lately over the recent spate of absurd Cialis ads that have pervaded their commercial breaks lately. Nothing ticks me off more than these ads featuring a happy-looking middle-aged dude getting patted on the back from other middle-aged dudes who can’t figure out why Mr. Happiness is looking so happy. Meanwhile, in the background, Mrs. Happiness (one hopes!) is looking all demure as she quietly makes a nice little floral arrangement while the kudos pour in. I guarantee you this: Mrs. Happiness isn’t that happy. She is probably suffering from hot flashes and would rather be featured in an HRT commercial advertising a drug that eases some of her hormonally-induced suffering. So, I turn on that game between San Jose and Vancouver, and within three seconds, what do I see? A huge Viagra ad on the boards of GM Place! I was immediately disgusted and disgruntled. I know advertising and hockey go hand in hand–I’ve lost track of the names of the facilities that Canadian NHL teams play in because they are constantly changing to pander to corporations!–and of course I am used to seeing ads along the boards at arenas. But when I spied that Viagra logo and the blue pill I nearly lost it. And the irony was too much: here we are at a huge sporting event watching men participate in a testosterone-driven sport, everyone’s going crazy, the Canucks are on the verge of making history, the blood is theoretically flowing though everyone’s veins like a tropical storm surge, and there, amongst all this masculine excitement, is a Viagra ad! I couldn’t believe it. I was so annoyed to be assaulted by yet another ED advertisement that I nearly turned off the TV. There’s only so much of this ridiculousness a woman can take. Snarkily, I almost wished they’d make a drug to get me interested in hockey again after this huge turn-off. I can see a female market for that for sure. But I didn’t change the channel. Instead, I kept it on and read a book so I could listen to the game but not have to be confronted by that Viagra ad. The next two games were in San Jose, and there were no Viagra ads there, thank God. Game five was in Vancouver, and I kept the sound off, which kind of sucked when that overtime goal was scored. I was on the throne and wondered what all the honking and cheering I could hear outside was all about, then I figured it out. Not surprisingly, the Golden City Cynic is not a bandwagon-type of person. While I do plan on watching the Stanley Cup finals, and while I will root for Vancouver, I’m not going to be waving any flags, wearing any T-shirts, or painting my face any funny colours. (By the way, when did the Canucks change their colours from the orange and black? Now I always feel like I’m watching the Hartford Whalers!) I have no desire to reignite the hockey passion I had in the days of yore. It’s undeniable that this in an exciting event with some historic significance to it, but I’m not going nuts. I suspect I’ll be watching with a sense of detachment more than anything. And I do hope GM Place gets some new advertising on the boards, ones that are a little more inclusive of women’s needs, like ads for chocolate, fleece jammies, and movies featuring Johnny Depp and cuddly kitties.