Two Sussex County men were among those who received Fifth District Hometown Heroes Awards from Rep. Josh Gottheimer on Dec. 16.
Earlier this fall, the Democratic congressman had asked his constituents to nominate residents who have made outstanding contributions to the 5th Congressional District by volunteering, serving or working to help others.
“It’s our shared Jersey Values that make North Jersey such a special place to live,” he said in requesting nominations.
Among the first-responders, teachers, business owners, children, seniors and community leaders recognized Dec. 16 were George Ambrose of Hamburg and Harry Shortway of Vernon.
Ambrose, who has lived in Hamburg for 44 years, was nominated by his daughter, Sarah Ambrose-Roman, along with other Hamburg residents.
He was known as “Doc” to those he fought with as an Army sergeant in the Vietnam War. For his service, he earned the Bronze Star Medal with First Oak Leaf Cluster.
He distinguished himself with “outstandingly meritorious achievement in connection with military ground operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam,” Gottheimer said during a ceremony at the Fair Lawn Recreation Center.
“Whether it’s George’s countless life-saving actions or steadfast leadership throughout his deployment, he truly exemplifies our nation’s best, and we owe him a great deal of gratitude for his service and sacrifice.”
Ambrose founded the Franklin Revolver and Rifle Association’s Women and Guns training program, where for 20 years he has provided hundreds of women with firearms safety and basic marksmanship training.
For more than 10 years, he was a leader for local Boys Scouts.
“I know that George and I would get along well because, as his nominator wrote, he ‘loves America, thinks Sussex County is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and is passionate about his family and country,” Gottheimer said.
Ambrose-Roman accepted the award on her father’s behalf. Also attending the ceremony were her husband, Adam, and Ambrose’s grandchildren, Ava, Olivia and AJ.
Shortway, a Vernon resident for 30 years, is a close friend of the congressman and “someone I admire deeply,” said Gottheimer, who nominated him for the award.
”First and foremost, just about everyone knows Harry because of his love for the community and its sports teams. He has been a long-time lacrosse coach in the area for a number of different teams, winning several championships.”
He was the Vernon Township High School boys varsity head lacrosse coach and Vernon PAL volunteer youth girls lacrosse coach and also coached the first women’s lacrosse team at Sussex County Community College.
In 2017, he brought the high school team to the North, Group 2 semifinals in the state tournament.
“He has been a mentor to so many of our children,” Gottheimer said.
Shortway worked as a teacher, firefighter, and police officer in Ridgewood and West Milford.
“Throughout his more than 20-year career in law enforcement, he had multiple life-saving responses. For many, these actions alone would earn recognition as Hometown Hero, but Harry’s story only just starts there,” Gottheimer said.
He later served as Vernon’s mayor, deputy mayor and council president.
“Plain and simple, he always puts people before party which is something we need more of across our nation,” the congressman said.
”Harry has been a tireless advocate for our law enforcement, first-responders and the environment - helping lead the charge to take action on an illegal landfill in Vernon. He also reached an agreement with Mountain Creek ski resort over their sewer debt in a way that didn’t put any additional burden on our taxpayers while also helping keep Mountain Creek open and developing - truly an incredible accomplishment.”
Previously, Shortway was recognized as Sussex County Mayor of the Year, Most Influential Teacher of the Year in Jefferson Township twice, MADD Police Officer of the Year, Upper Greenwood Lake Fire Officer of the Year and Upper Greenwood Lake First Aid Squad Police Officer of the Year.
“Since I first ran from office, Harry has been an outstanding friend and adviser. Without his support and knowledge, much of the progress we’ve made for North Jersey simply wouldn’t have been possible,” Gottheimer said.
”Whether it’s for Harry’s decades of service as a mentor to our kids, a police officer or as an elected official, his positive effects on Vernon and North Jersey will never be forgotten.”