Video thumbnail image and picture courtesy Ofc. Rick Stemple of the WPD.
It was a meeting of a happy beginnings, and a sad farewell.
While Whitemarsh will see a friendly new face in police officer Bryan Lukens, who was sworn in at a Board of Supervisors meeting Thursday night, it has lost the leadership of township manager Bruce Horrocks, who passed away last week at the age of 63 after a long battle with illness.
Horrocks served the township for seven years, first as assistant manager and then moving up to the big job. A moment of silence was held for Horrocks at Thursday's meeting, and chair Robert Hart spoke in remembrance.
"He was really part of our community. He was a unique character in his own way, and he was committed to Whitemarsh like no one I've ever met," Hart said.
Hart also recalled Horrocks' dedication during a tumultuous transition period when he assumed the job as manager.
"He put his life on hold and worked tirelessly, around the clock, seven days a week, for close to a year," said Hart. "Never asked for more, never asked for anything from us, and just did the job because that's the kind of man he was."
Hart said that the township will be holding a more formal memorial in the future, with details to come.
A Legacy.com obituary for Horrocks said he passed away on Dec. 4 in his home in Hilltown Township. He is survived by his wife Carol, with whom he recently celebrated a 42nd wedding anniversary, two children and their spouses, three grandchildren, and two brothers and their spouses.
A native of Sellersville and graduate of Pennridge High School and West Virginia's Salem College, Horrocks was also a member of St. Stephen's United Church of Christ, where he sang in the choir, and was active in coaching soccer.
New officer welcomed, retired officer honored
Also at the meeting, the newest addition to to the Whitemarsh Police Department was sworn in, as Corporal Bryan Lukens took his oath. The 2000 Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School graduate was joined in the ceremony by children Bryan, Jr. and Soffia, who held the Bible on which Lukens placed his hand as he took his oath. Lukens' wife Tracey, youngest son Parker, and other family members also looked on.
Police chief Michael Beaty said Lukens was chosen from among 120 applicants for the position, and was selected as Section Lieutenant while attending the Montgomery County Community College's Police Academy. Lukens also served in the United States Marine Corps, achieving the rank of Sergeant and serving multiple tours of duty in Iraq before receiving an honorable discharge.
He also holds an Associate's Degree in Fine Arts from MCCC. Lukens replaces retired Corporal Steve Dolan, who was honored at Thursday's meeting with a plaque from the Central Montgomery County SWAT Team. Beaty said Dolan was a talented police and SWAT negotiator.
"Steve was a crisis negotiator for approximately 19 years," Beaty said. "He's been on many of the big incidents that have happened here in Whitemarsh, and helped resolve those situations as quickly and effectively as possible without using force. He was a huge asset to the team and township."