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Lower Salutes Police Officer, Three Teachers Upon Retirement

Christopher South
Mayor Frank Sippel, right, and the Lower Township Council honoring Councilman Kevin Coombs, third from left, on his retirement from the Lower Township Elementary School District.

By Christopher South

VILLAS – Lower Township has honored four public servants at the end of their careers.

At the Monday, April 1, Township Council meeting, Councilman Kevin Coombs was recognized for his career in the township schools. He retired after serving 23 years and seven months in a learning language disability classroom in the township elementary school district.

Coombs is a 1988 graduate of Lower Cape May Regional High School, where he was a member of the National Honor Society and graduated 10th in his class. He graduated with honors from Rowan University and was certified as what was then called a teacher of the handicapped.

He worked as a substitute/aide for the Lower Cape May Regional School District from 1992 through 1998 before being hired as a special education teacher by the elementary district in 2000. He served as a wrestling coach at the Richard M. Teitelman Middle School from 1992 to 2003, and again from 2018 to 2020.

Coombs received his proclamation from Mayor Frank Sippel and then helped award certificates to his brother, Eric Coombs, congratulating him on his retirement from the township Police Department, and to the other honorees.

Eric Coombs holding a certificate from Lower Township honoring him on his retirement from the township Police Department. Photo Credit: Christopher South

Eric Coombs, also a graduate of Lower Cape May Regional High School and a lifelong resident of Lower Township, was hired by the township as a patrolman on Jan. 12, 2004. He attended the 43rd session of the Camden County Police Academy and after graduation served as a patrol officer until his appointment as a school resource officer in 2019.

Coombs’ accomplishments include being a member of the Crash Investigation Team, working as a training officer and playing a key role in the preparation and execution of the Police Department’s National Night Out events.

He and his wife, Nina, have two children, Eric and Emily.

Next honored was Sandra Eakin, who will retire July 1 after 25 years as a history teacher at Lower Cape May Regional High School, where she has taught since 1999.

Sandra Eakin holding the proclamation presented to her by Mayor Frank Sippel, right, for her 25 years teaching in the Lower Cape May Regional School District. Photo Credit: Christopher South

Eakin was the Key Club adviser for over two decades, and her involvement with the Kiwanis Club has provided students with invaluable service and leadership experiences. She mentored students as they prepared for the VFW’s Voice of Democracy scholarship competition.

Her proclamation says, “Ms. Eakin embodies the qualities of a model leader; her unwavering commitment to personal growth and community-building has left an indelible mark on Lower Cape May Regional High School and its students.”

Lastly, the mayor and council honored Beth Suter for her 31 years of teaching in the Lower Cape May Regional School District. Suter graduated from LCMR and returned to the district as a special education teacher, covering every subject at the middle school.

Beth Suter holds a certificate honoring her upon her retirement after 31 years as a special education teacher. Photo Credit: Christopher South

According to her proclamation, “Ms. Suter was always the first to assist with extracurricular activities, clubs and/or sports” and “is renowned for her passion for horses and her involvement in 4-H activities.

“(Her) influence has been deep, reaching countless children and families in our community,” the proclamation concludes.

Contact the author, Christopher South, at csouth@cmcherald.com or 609-886-8600, ext. 128.

Reporter

Christopher South is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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