A beefsteak dinner to honor three of Sussex County’s outgoing police chiefs will be held at the Mohawk House on Thursday, March 26 with Pat LaFrieda and special guests, and will raise funds for the chiefs’ favorite charities. Newton Chief Mike Richards, Byram Chief Pete Zabita, and Hardyston Chief Bret Alemy are all stepping into retirement, leaving behind more than 80 combined years of public service and immeasurable contributions to Sussex County communities, with their retirement party serving as one more way for them to leave a legacy.
The dinner will benefit the Sussex County C.L.E.A.R. program, which Richards co-founded, in addition to the Richards Building Fund at the Sussex County Fairgrounds, where Richards is the new director. The dinner will also contribute to Alemy’s charity of choice, the Residential Home Founding (RHF) Foundation, which provides support for children with acute medical conditions and organizations that aid children experiencing bullying and substance use issues. Donations will also be going to the Sussex County Food Pantry, chosen by Zabita, who has been a force in food collection and hunger awareness through the annual Cram the Cruiser and Stuff the Bus events.
Representatives of the chosen charities will be at the dinner to speak about their organizations’ work. Dignitaries including State Senator Steve Oroho (R-24) and Paul Cell, who is the immediate past president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, will also be in attendance. Silent and live auctions and a 50/50 cash raffle will round out the evening, which will feature meats from premier butcher Pat LaFrieda and locally-sourced gourmet breads and side dishes.
“I didn’t want to have a retirement party, unless there was a way it could be for charity, and Bret and Pete felt the same way," Richards, who retired in December, said. "So this is one last way for us to give back after spending our whole adult lives in service.”
Alemy will retire at the end of March, just days after the dinner.
“I’m a longtime supporter of RHF,” Alemy said. “This is a special way for me to give back to them.”
Zabita, who retired at the end of January, said the outpouring of support they’ve already gotten for the retirement party speaks to the support they’ve always received from their communities and from their fellow chiefs.
“This is a positive reflection on the law enforcement family and on the chiefs’ association, what we’ve been able to do over our time in our leadership roles," he said.
All three retiring chiefs have also been officers in the Sussex County Association of Chiefs of Police, and now current president, Sparta Chief Neil Spidaletto, is helping Mohawk House owner Steve Scro organize the event.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting new people from around the region,” Scro said. “This party is going to be huge, and I want to honor these guys as they retire by showing people the best Sussex County can offer.”
The beefsteak-style dinner will begin at 6 p.m. on March 26, for a cost of $75/person. Tickets are limited to 350 and are available online at www.eventbrite.com/e/mohawk-house-chiefs-charity-beefsteak-tickets-93018178877 or by visiting www.sussexcountyacop.org. For more information on the event send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Program advertisements are also for sale and can be purchased through March 3, by sending high-resolution artwork to the above email. Rates are $150, $250, and $350 respectively for quarter, half, and full-page ads, and $500 for a back page spread. Checks for program ads can be sent to Eric Danielson, SCACOP treasurer, care of the Andover Township Police Department, 134 Newton Sparta Rd, Newton, NJ 07860. Event proceeds will be donated to the chosen charities, which are all registered 501(c)3 organizations.