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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jan 03, 2018

Middletown Police Officer Aids Hurricane Maria Recovery Efforts

By Lori Draz

While most watched in shock at the devastation that Puerto Rico endured following Hurricane Maria, 10 Monmouth County police officers went to help. Among those officers was Middletown Township Patrolman Ekne Montalvo. The 10 officers spent two weeks, from November 4 through 18, helping the citizens of the ravaged island.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, in conjunction with local towns, New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, and New Jersey State Police, sent the group of officers to Puerto Rico to assist in the recovery efforts from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The deployment consisted of members of the State Police, Freehold Borough, Howell Township, Long Branch, Middletown Township, Neptune Township, and Red Bank Police Departments. It’s been the largest undertaking of its kind since Hurricane Katrina.

Middletown Township Chief of Police Craig Weber approached Officer Montalvo about volunteering since they were looking for Latin-speaking officers to assist. Officer Montalvo was quick to step up to help. He was assigned to a post in Caguas, Puerto Rico to assist with security and traffic control due to the damage from the storm. His team also handed out food, water, and other essential supplies to local citizens.
While directing traffic in Caguas, he and his team also prevented a driver, who had a knife up against his chest, from committing suicide with his wife in the car.

Officer Montvalo has deep connections to Puerto Rico. During the time of his deployment, he also had the opportunity to meet up with family and meet his father-in-law for the first time. He was also grateful to have been there when, in a bitter twist of irony, he as able to attend his uncle’s funeral. His uncle, who was with the San Juan Police Department for 27 years, was suffering with cancer, but died unexpectedly while he was in Puerto Rico. Officer Montalvo, a U.S. Army veteran who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom in Baghdad, Iraq, was also honored to have spent Veterans Day in Puerto Rico.

Middletown Township is proud of Officer Montvalo’s commitment to helping those in need. Thank you for all you do.