It’s rare for an individual to stay with a particular company for decades, but there are five members of New Community’s Security Department who have worked for the organization for 30 years or more. Jerome Barrow, William Folsom, Michelle Grier-Porch, Malinda Liptrot and Gerard Mansare have more than 165 years of service to New Community combined.
Folsom has the longest tenure with New Community. He will celebrate 40 years as a security officer in August. He has worked mainly in the organization’s residential buildings, with Hudson Senior in Jersey City currently serving as his main post. He started his NCC career at Extended Care where he met his wife who was working in the facility’s kitchen. The couple will celebrate their 31st wedding anniversary in August.
He enjoys his work and doesn’t have plans to leave.
“I could retire now but I’m just not ready to sit back yet,” Folsom said. “I like being around different people.”
Grier-Porch greets visitors at the New Community Health Care Building, which houses New Community Career & Technical Institute (NCCTI), New Community Federal Credit Union (NCFCU), the Family Resource Success Center, Family Service Bureau of Newark (FSB) and Supportive Assistance to Individuals and Families (SAIF). She has worked at New Community for nearly 34 years as a security officer, serving in residential buildings and New Horizons Community Charter School, which used to fall under NCC, in addition to her current post.
She plans to stay at New Community until retirement.
“I love my job. I love working with the people that I work with,” Grier-Porch said. “New Community’s a good place to be.”
Mansare will reach 30 years at New Community in August. He first learned about New Community from NCC’s late founder Monsignor William J. Linder, who was serving as the pastor at St. Rose of Lima Church in Newark. Mansare is a very traditional Catholic and was searching for a church after coming to the United States from Guinea in West Africa. He found St. Rose of Lima and became close with Monsignor Linder who encouraged him to continue his education and told him about the security positions available at New Community.
Monsignor Linder connected Mansare to lawyers to help him bring his fiance to the United States. He wed the couple and baptized each of their three children. Mansare’s connection to Monsignor Linder and his coworkers has kept him at the organization.
“I love New Community,” he said. “It’s like a family.”
Security Sgt. Barrow has worked at New Community for about 30 years. He left the organization for a time to deal with family issues but decided to return.
“I came back because I love New Community,” he said. “I loved the job I was doing.”
Barrow first came to New Community as a security officer in 1979, shortly after the organization had finished construction on many of its residential buildings. He has worked at a variety of sites and all shifts and was promoted to supervisor. He now supervises the 4 p.m. to midnight shift, ensuring the safety and security of residents, staff members and New Community property.
Security Operations Manager Derek White is proud of the longtime personnel on his staff.
“They are all an asset to NCC and continue to help residents improve the quality of their lives,” he said. “I’d like to personally thank them for all they have done and continue to do. Their contributions are an important part of our continued success.”
The group of longtime employees has seen many changes over the years, including the expansion of buildings and services. Folsom remembers the creation of Harmony House, New Community’s transitional housing facility for homeless families, as well as the opening of the Health Care Building. The group also saw residential buildings go up and the rehabilitation of properties.
Commitment to New Community’s mission, a desire to help others and a sense of camaraderie has kept the longtime members of the Security Department at the organization.
“In the Security Department, we all stick together to try to make everything better than before,” Barrow said. “You learn from your mistakes, build from your mistakes and you move on.”
While some are nearing retirement, they’re happy to come to work each day.
“Anybody that comes in that needs help, New Community is there,” Grier-Porch said. “I’m glad that we can be of help to them.”