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Mays Landing coaches clean up defaced memorial to young boy

Christian Clopp had a way of bringing the community together, his father said.
Now, Mark Clopp pointed out, it’s happened again, seven years after cancer took his son.
After a video surfaced showing a man urinating on the memorial to the 9½-year-old Mays Landing boy, two coaches decided to show what their community is all about.
Desmond Walker and Paul Burgan have spent a decade together coaching the youth of Hamilton Township.
On Sunday,  came together to clean up after a video surfaced showing a man urinating on the memorial to a young Mays Landing boy who died of cancer seven years ago.
“We wanted to send the message that if anyone thinks about doing something wrong in our neighborhood, we’re going to do anything we can to stop it,” said Burgan, and Atlantic County sheriff’s officer.


The memorial is in the park dedicated to Christian Clopp, who died of cancer in 2012. His father, Mark, posted the video on his Facebook page Sunday in hopes of getting justice for his son.
Walker saw the video, and said he was disgusted.
He said he also got a little choked up, being a single dad to two kids himself.
So he reached out to Burgan, his children’s godfather, and asked if he would come help him clean it up.
“I’ll meet you there in five minutes,” he said his friend replied.

Walker knows Mark Clopp, a retired Hamilton Township police officer, from his work for security at the Atlantic County Institute of Technology.
He said he never got to meet Christian, but always heard great things about the boy.
Walker said his 10-year-old daugher, Mia, helped with the clean up, after he explained to her what happened.
“We didn’t do it to get recognition,” Walker said.
He said as commissioner of the Mays Landing Lakers Youth Football Program, they preach family.
“This is family in our community,” he said. “We wanted to do what we thought was right. No more, no less.”


Mark Clopp said the community outreach made what started out a horrible day end with him seeing the positive.
“Aside from the two morons facing criminal charges, I saw a community once again come together for a cause,” he wrote on Facebook.  “I’ve heard from hundreds of people offering assistance. Friends and strangers went to wash the memorial off.”
In the end, it was another reminder of the things his son taught him in his short life.
“This is what Christian did during his life,” Clopp wrote. “He brought people together and he has accomplished that again. Perhaps the playground will be beautified, maybe expanded as a result. It doesn’t matter, as long as it is enjoyed by thousands of children in the future.”
He ended his post thanking his son.
“If we let anger prevail, we’ve lost the battle,” he wrote. “Thanks again, everyone, for coming together and showing how great our community can be, especially in a time of political controversy. It reminds us what is important in life. Thank you again, Christian Clopp.”

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