You've had a very interesting career path - can you tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming a community leader?
Though at the time I didn’t really know what it was, as a teenager I had a strong entrepreneurial spirit and started Petrucci’s Ice Cream. It became a successful franchise that I sold years later. It hasn’t always been easy though as my family and I faced hard times too in business. But dealing with that pressure and being positive is always the way to survive. Once I sold the business, I focused on what is one of my core values: serving the public. I became an elected Constable, then Judge while volunteering for countless local civic events and organizations.
It seems you have always had a deep commitment to strengthening and serving the local community. What is the inspiration behind your desire to help others?
Two things: the values my parents taught me about helping others and my absolute love of my hometown community. I am from here and I want our area to remain great and get even better for the next generation. Combine that with a desire to help those in less fortunate circumstances than me, and so many in our area, and you get an active and committed community servant, which is what I really am at my core.
What organizations are you currently involved with?
I am an active member with the Newtown Rotary Club and also a sitting board member. I am also Co-founder of our local Shop with a Cop program and an honorary member of the Newtown Business Association and past president. I have helped raise awareness and have been involved with fundraising for many area nonprofit organizations including Pedals for Progress, Pickering Manor, Newtown Theater, Newtown, Upper Makefield and Lingohocken Fire Associations, our local police PBA‘s, Wrightstown Food Cupboard, Family Service Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, among others.
Shop with a Cop is a national program that pairs children who are facing hardship with a police officer to provide a better Christmas holiday for the children’s families as well as foster better relationships between youth and officers. The children are provided with gift cards and spend time shopping for their families with a police officer. We know this program is very important to you. How and why did you get involved and what was the motivation in bringing it to our area?
Myself along with Newtown Township Police Corporal Paul Deppi started the local Shop with a Cop in 2018. Paul is a Council Rock graduate and Newtown resident as well. The program is a natural extension serving as District Judge and who I am. I work with the men and women of law enforcement every day. I see what the general public doesn’t – the fact that these are real people who are truly committed to helping all of us, especially kids. I come down from the bench to work with children and have made helping kids who are on the wrong track get back on the right one. Shop with a Cop brings these together in a way that is positive, builds a positive community relationship, and helps kids.
What is the most rewarding aspect of this program?
It’s helping people – especially kids. As Judge, one of the first promises I kept was to re-institute the “Youth Aide Panel” program that helps get kids who are on the wrong track back on a positive life path. It uses judicial discretion and alternative sentencing to give first-time, non-violent minor offenders a second chance. I also come down from the bench to visit schools, take part in academic events and more – all aimed at providing a positive view for kids as they move forward in the world. Plus, of course, I work with charitable organizations to support programs that help underserved children in our community.
What legacy do you hope to leave in the community of Newtown?
The legacy I want to leave has nothing to do with being a Judge, it has to do with being a good person and citizen. I want my legacy to be that I left our community a little better than I found it and helped people who needed it.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner... what are you most grateful for?
My family and our country. My wife and children are my center and I could not imagine my life without them. Our country has given all of us a chance to succeed and what unites us – even our desire to do some things better – is much greater and more common than we often hear on the news or read on social media.