Fifteen individuals and seven organizations recently received the Union County Human Relations Commission’s prestigious Unity Award for Achievement, an honor given to role models who dedicate their time and efforts to activities and programs that raise and honor the human spirit.
The awards were handed out during a special presentation held at the Kean University’s STEM Building in Union Township on Monday, May 7, 2018. The 2018 awards marked the 17th year
in which the Commission has named honorees.
Sgt. Michael D. Boll, Township of Union Police Department, was recognized for outstanding community service, and for providing the opportunity for individuals with special needs to learn to soar through athletics. Below is preprinted from the event’s program.
Sergeant Boll graduated from Union High School in 1989, and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps serving in Operation Desert Storm from December 1990 through June 1991. He received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University in 1993, and in 1994 joined the Township of Union Police Department. He was assigned to various specialized units, and worked closely with numerous community groups.
During this time, Sgt. Boll has been an active member within the community because he understands the importance of community service. He organizednumerous community programs to help raise money for autism awareness, disabled veterans, the Special Olympics, hurricane disaster relief, and countless other causes. He also started the Santa in Blue program, an annual toy and gift drive for less fortunate families living in Union. He spearheaded the SuperStorm Sandy toy drive, collecting over $30,000 in gift cards and filling three full-size tractor trailers with gifts and bicycles.
Seeing the need to help our veterans, he became the team captain for the Challenged Athletes Foundation Operation Rebound Racing Team. This program strengthens the mental and physical well-being of our disabled veterans and first responders with permanent physical injuries by providing them opportunities to use the healing powers of sports and fitness to reintegrate into our communities, and empowering them to live a healthy and active life after a traumatic event. His first event was a 200-mile bike ride to Walter Reed Veterans Hospital, collecting over $8,000 in gift cards and hand cycles for disabled combat veterans. His second was a 22-hour veterans’ suicide awareness walk at the New Jersey VFW convention.
In 2017, Sgt. Boll founded the New Jersey Veterans Network, a 501(c)(3) charity that provides veterans a better quality of life through the donation of cars and housing, as well as providing job assistance and mental health services. Ground was recently broken in South Carolina to build a complex as a retreat for disabled veterans and their families.
The program provides those who have served honorably with the unparalleled opportunities to pursue active, athletic lifestyles by offering access to funding for equipment, training, and competition expenses, sports clinics, and Military Medical Center Physical Training.
We salute him tonight for his outstanding legacy of community service, and for looking to support those to whom we owe our lives, and care about greatly.