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PHOTOS: Cpl. Nicholas Ott Remembered with Memorial Dedication, Fundraiser

Township dedicated Colonial Drive in Ott's memory on Saturday morning

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. 

Mark Wendell September 22, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Shows Manchester at it's best, coming out for their own. Manchester PD, Manchester and Ridgeway Fire, Lakehurst Fire, US Marines, Manchester Municipal Allance, Rolling Thunder, Vet Services, Manchester HS NJROTC, Teachers, Staff, BOE and School Admin. Great job everybody.
DH September 23, 2012 at 06:23 PM
What was the final tally?
Jean September 23, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Please give your thanks to the MTHS Class of 2006. Their hard work and dedication to Nick will replenish his scholarship and keep his SMILE alive forever. They are all truly special!!
Debbie September 25, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Outrageous job by all involved. We thank our Manchester & Lakehurst neighbors, friends and relatives who came out to share celebrating our son's life while contributing to his Memorial Fund. The final tally is in excess of $17,000 - achieving the original goal of a "mile of quarters" well done!! Thanks again, The Ott's

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