Colonial Drive now has another name — the Cpl. Nicholas S. Ott, USMC Memorial Highway.
The road, which is home to the township's Municipal Complex, high school and an elementary school, was dedicated Saturday morning in memory of the U.S. Marine who was killed while serving in Afghanistan last year at age 23.
Township officials, friends, family and service members were among those present at the ceremony held on the roadway near the entrance to Manchester Township High School.
"In my mind Nicholas is a true hero," said Township Council President Craig Wallis, who was among the speakers. "This is a tribute to him so his memory will never be lost."
Classmate and best friend Heather Barrett also spoke about first meeting Ott in school and shared her memories of the fallen marine.
The memorial began with the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Ashely Cucchiara. Lt. Vincent Manco of the Manchester Police Department welcomed the speakers and Rev. David Rittinger of Whiting Bible Church let the group in a prayer for Ott and his family.
The memorial ended with Frank Richetti of the Toms River Veteran Marin Corps playing "America the Beautiful" on his trumpet.
Following the dedication, the Nick's (S)Miles of Quarters benefit for a memorial fund established in his name by the Manchester Township Educational Foundation was held at the high school.
"It has a real hometown feel," said Annie Sullivan, an event organizer who was friends with Ott as they went through school together.
Organizers said that turnout had exceeded their expectations and over $8,000 was raised, with more money expected to come in.
Donations were made in quarters to be placed around the school's track. Sullivan said that organizers had hoped to circle the track once — they exceeded that goal, having completed over two laps.
"We were hoping to get around once and we keep going," she said.
Organizations including Manchester and Lakehurst's fire companies, Manchester police, and the high school's football team and shop class helped out. Prizes, including gift cards to local businesses, were raffled.
Tug, the IED dog assigned to the squad led by Ott, was adopted by his family and also made an appearance at the event.