By Lindsay Kirkland
Anna Jezycki, better known as “Mrs. J” knows how to get things done. She has lived in Galloway Township with her husband Joe since 1965 and has attended nearly every Galloway Council meeting for over 50 years.
Originally from New York, Anna and Joe met in Staten Island. Joe was a butcher in the supermarket business. They moved to Atlantic County so Joe could work at the Two Guys Supermarket in Pleasantville.
“That was like Walmart is today, a big deal,” Joe recalled. He went on to work for many years in the casinos and Shoprite. Currently, he is a bus aide for Atlantic County Special Services School District. Together the Jezyckis raised a son and a daughter and are now enjoying their two grandchildren.
Mrs. J believes in being involved in her community. Her resume of accomplishments is proof that the outspoken, yet always polite with a sense of humor, was the force behind the construction of the Senior Center in Galloway that opened in 2012.
“They call me the gadfly,” Mrs. J said.
A gadfly is a person who interferes with the status quo, brings about change by posing novel questions and ideas to authorities.
Throughout her reign as the “gadfly,” Mrs. J has kept the council and other public officials on their toes with questions about township business that may raise concerns or questions ranging from new projects, to ordinances, to spending and appointments to boards and committees.
But what she said she is most proud of in her leadership role, is the one she took in getting the Jessica Lunsford Act passed in New Jersey. This New Jersey sex offender bill and similar legislation across the country, is named for nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford of Florida, who was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and buried alive by a convicted sex offender who lived nearby.
“The Jessica Lunsford Act tightens up Megan’s Law,” explained Mrs. J.
When Mrs. J. found out that a Tier 3 sex offender was living only three doors down, adjacent to where the neighborhood children awaited the school bus, she knew she had to do something.
She formed CUFFS, Communities United For Family Safety. She also led a neighborhood watch that worked closely with the police, mayor and prosecutor. Governor Christie signed the Jessica Lunsford Act into law on May 15, 2014. This took the better part of a decade to get done and Mrs. J was there advocating for New Jersey’s children every step of the way.
Most recently, the Jezyckis, who are both active members of Assumption Catholic Church, hosted the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
The statue has been traveling worldwide since 1947 and is currently on a two-year journey across America to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions of Fatima. The Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917.
The Jezycki’s hosted 50 people in their home many of whom were very sick, for a prayer service.
“If any one person walked out of my home with a ray of hope, it was worth it,” said Mrs. J.
A gadfly brings about change in his or her community and that is certainly what Mrs. J. has done. She has been positively impacting Galloway for over 50 years and has accomplished quite a bit.