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Meet Some of the Newtown Guys That Are Making a Difference

Article by Ashley Barrett Kanoff

Photography by Joe Dantone, Dantone Creative

Originally published in Newtown City Lifestyle

Recently we were lucky enough to sit down with the eight men that you voted for, men that have positively contributed to our community. These men continue to go above and beyond in their careers, for their families, and especially with our community and children in Newtown as we face issues we've never had to face before. 

Andy Moral

4th grade teacher at Sol Feinstone Elementary, Educational Consultant, Husband, and Father

What is the best life advice you’ve received?

During my undergraduate years at Saint Joseph’s University, I worked for the men’s basketball team.  One of the best pieces of advice I learned during this experience was to also be accountable.  Your word is your bond and your actions have to match what you say.  Today, I pride myself on being accountable and following through in both my professional and personal life.

When and how did you begin teaching? 

I began teaching in my early 20’s.  Originally I wanted to pursue a career in marketing. However, the summer before my freshman year of college, I worked at a day camp and learned I loved being around kids.  I switched my major on my first day on campus.  This decision was a personal risk at the time- some people told me I would never be successful being an elementary school teacher- but now I have had the privilege to teach and inspire so many wonderful students over the years.  This decision taught me that it is important to trust yourself and to choose a career that is enjoyable and rewarding.  Being a teacher is one of my proudest life accomplishments. 

What’s something you’ve learned recently that surprised you?

In recent years, I struggled with maintaining a work and home life balance.  I experienced severe stress and anxiety and was surprised that these symptoms manifested themselves in me.  In my 20's and early 30's, I maintained a well-balanced lifestyle, so I was caught off guard when I faced these challenges.  Behavior therapy and the support of my wife and family, as well as colleagues and friends, taught me the importance of self-care.  Mental health is a vital part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

What do you do to maintain a balanced life? 

A simple way I work to maintain a balanced life is by making a conscious effort to be in the moment.  During the work day, I focus my energy on my interactions with students and colleagues.  When I am at home, I focus on spending time with my family and friends and disconnect from work.  I intentionally schedule time during the day that is dedicated to my personal life.  Multitasking between catching up on work and spending time with my family or friends is not practical.  Scheduling time for exercise and quiet time for myself is also something I do to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle.  

Officer Jules Ferraro - Newtown Township 

What is the best life advice you’ve received? 

From my father: “If you want to dance, you have to pay the band.” Meaning there are consequences for every decision I make, that I need to take responsibility for my actions and to try to make good decisions. My strong work ethic arose from that advice. 

When and how did you begin working as a police officer? 

I started my career in Philadelphia March 1982 Police Academy Class 259. 

Was this a job you had your eye on for some time?

 I always wanted to be a police officer. 

What’s something you’ve learned recently that surprised you? 

Nothing surprises me anymore. 

What do you do to maintain a balanced life? 

Family, church, exercise, and living history weekends. 

How do you disconnect from work? 

I have a hard time disconnecting from work. There is such an emotional investment in what we do, it is sometimes difficult to leave work behind. I have learned to depend more on my wife and talk more about my day than I did in the past, with a little prying on her part (i.e., pulling teeth). Being active in church and my hobbies also help. 

How does your work tie into your passions in life? 

I really care about people and am passionate about helping them through hard or traumatic experiences. That brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction, almost as much as being in the classroom reading to the local school children. 

If you had to choose a different job, what would you be? 

A rodeo clown.

Bob Linkenheimer DO

What is your recipe for success? 

To surround myself with nice people who have the drive to continue learning and getting better. What people do really does matter and regardless of whom they are they should be shown respect. 

What is the best life advice you’ve received?

Try to live by the idea of treating people like you want to be treated and to be respectful and polite to all. That was pretty much from my parents and my upbringing. Greg Henry, one of the giants in emergency medicine, has said, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” The key is to be patient and listen.

What’s something you’ve learned recently that surprised you?

I don’t know if it was a surprise but the compassion and thoughtfulness of the people in the community during the pandemic with the donations of masks and other equipment as well as food and gifts is so appreciated by all of us. People could not have been more appreciative and supportive. That is one of the great things about Newtown borough. Neighbors and community who are willing to help without being asked and sharing their generosity throughout the town.

What do you do to maintain a balanced life? How do you disconnect from work?

I cannot really say that I have maintained balance or disconnected from work very well. It is something that I have tried to be more mindful of with the help of my wife, Trish. I enjoy exercising and sports to help me but trying to shut off my mind is difficult. During the pandemic that is harder because I need to be available at all times.  

Is there an important message you would like to share? 

Be kind and respectful of others regardless who they are. The planet is relatively small, our time here is relatively short. Be open to others, you may not agree but you can always listen and try to understand. Everyone has their own perspective based on their own individual experiences.

Dave Marcolla, MBA / C-RETS / ABR / SRS / SRES

NJ & PA Licensed Realtor

Principal, The Dave Marcolla Group

What is your recipe for success? 

My recipe for success is to make margaritas out of limes.  I believe that when you help people solve their problems, focus on the good parts of life and situations, success will come.  Whether it's religious, karma, or just good luck, I'm proof that helping others and doing what's right pays dividends and is worth celebrating…often.

What is the best life advice you’ve received?

The best advice I've received was to always trust my gut.  Whether it be a real estate deal or a life decision, once I realized that I make good decisions when the facts are missing, I became much more aware that it's often purely gut instinct.  For a long time I thought all decisions required facts and experience.  Sometimes you don't have that and have to make a crucial decision without it.  You can't train that, you can't buy it...it's something you have or you don't.  

When and how did you begin working in real estate? 

I started in real estate in 2018. It was something I had always wanted to do but I felt it seemed too risky just to jump into.  My background was in corporate jobs in leadership roles at Fortune 100 companies.  But my heart was in working for myself and real estate.  Making the leap to build my own business and help others was the best decision I've ever made.  Never settle!

Matt Newman

Best Selling Author, Inspirational and Motivational Speaker, 3x TEDx Speaker, Brain Cancer Survivor, Sr. VP at Transamerica, Husband and Father of Three

What is the best life advice you’ve received?

We often learn the most basic lessons in life at the deepest and darkest of times. We can be gifted with this new set of lenses that allows us to see and appreciate life from a different perspective. When we take on battles and our journey is altered, we can take these gifts, own them, make them ours.

What is your recipe for success?

People buy people; they buy leadership, they buy trust, they buy inspiration. It’s not the widgets that are sold, it’s the experience you create for others that drives sales and revenue in its purest form. After I went through brain surgery, I needed an outlet; I was optimistic, I was ready to fight, but anxiety and fear get pushed down deep into our bellies to avoid confronting the reality of what can occur when you take on severe life changes. I started to write; I would use it as my catharsis, my outlet. I wrote messages on my new perspective, appreciation, and understanding of the fragility of life. These were real and pure. It allowed me to get it out of my system.

What’s something you’ve learned recently that surprised you?

Change breeds opportunity, or change breeds complacency. How do you look at change? Many get set in their ways and refute altering their comfort zones. I am open to change, and what I've been through enhanced my way of seeing life.

Dr. Jo Yi 

What is your recipe for success? 

It is my belief that success is defined NOT by money but measured by the quality of your life. To me, success is to live free based on my terms which means spending quality time with family, make an honest living by creating an impact in our community, experience travel and form new connections with amazing people throughout the world. 

What is the best life advice you’ve received?

The best life advice I have ever received came from a Russian man who is a dear friend of mine. He taught me that 'The Universe helps those who reach higher'. In other words, the Universe (God, Jesus, Allah, whatever your belief system) observes your passion and commitment towards creating change. Over time if you keep fighting for what you believe in despite the level of pain attached to it, The Universe will reward you by showing you the PATH (not doing the work for you). This quote single handedly changed the course of my destiny. 

How are you able to maintain a balanced life and disconnect from work?

People are usually shocked to learn this about me, but I choose to travel alone to a foreign country with no agenda other than to walk the earth. I happen to live a very spiritual life and it's truly amazing what happens when you travel alone. Words cannot describe what happens when you trust your faith onto a higher power - The people you meet and the wisdom you gain from random experiences are truly priceless.

John McKenna 

Owner- John's Barber Shop in Newtown 

What is your recipe  for success?

To work hard and play hard. When I go to work, I only think about work for that day. I don't think about happy hour or what I'm going to eat for dinner. Just work. And just the opposite on my off days. I think about family, golf and going out to dinners. I never mix the two. 

How long have you been in business?

 I've been in Newtown for 25 years as a barber, 13 years working at Bowens Barbershop and 12 years on my own. Barbering was always my passion. It just took me 1 year of college to realize that biology and chemistry 101 weren’t for me. Lol. 

If you had to choose a different job, what would you be?  

While driving to work everyday for the past 25 years, I was always jealous of landscapers.I’m not saying it’s easy, but it seems relaxing, and satisfying. Being out in the sun with headphones on, listening to music and no one is around to bother you. That is assuming the weather is 70 and sunny everyday, of course. 

Jim McCaffrey IV

Executive Vice-President of McCaffrey's Food Markets 

What is the best life advice you've received? 

My dad worked in grocery stores as a college student and he recalls a catering event where he forgot to bring a knife to slice the bread. He had to go to a competitor to borrow a knife. From then on, he always tells us "It's all about the details. If you forget one detail, it screws everything up." 

How did you decide to go into the family business? What is another job you would have chosen in a different industry? 

My dad has been in the business for over 40 years. About 9 years ago, I joined the business after a 13 year career as a police officer. 

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