The Rev. Steven Shuster, 54, of the First United Methodist Church of Millville, never thought he was a candidate for a heart attack. He wasn’t overweight, didn’t have high cholesterol or a family history of heart problems, and he had raised $40,000 to feed the hungry in Millville by running marathons for five years.

But Shuster collapsed 50 yards from the finish in a marathon near Boston last July, after feeling nauseated and disoriented. Flu-like symptoms continued, and it turned out he’d had a silent heart attack due to a clogged artery, perhaps during the race.

He will have a procedure to repair the heart muscle in August, so he is stepping down from leading the First United Methodist Church in Millville. Friends there are giving him and his wife, Christine, a sendoff party Monday. Shuster hopes to return to another ministry in a year.

He has been at the Millville church 11 years, where he and a group of congregants started the SHINE Ministry to help the neighborhood.

“We have people driving from nice homes to a rough neighborhood where the church sits,” he said. “We decided to reach out and make a difference.”

First SHINE started a free, two-week summer camp for about 200 local kids, who take trips and play, but also do a service project. Then it started an after-school homework program, which serves about 20 kids a day.

The father of Josh, 25; Amanda, 22; and Victoria, 14, has also been involved with many community groups in Millville.

Social worker award

Lauree Fogelman-Lapidus, of Ventnor, is Garden Area Health Education Center’s Outstanding Social Worker of the year. She received the Beyond the Call of Duty award at the eighth annual social work program “Restoring Hope” in Bridgeton in April. She works at Holy Redeemer Hospice in Egg Harbor Township.

Artist’s exhibit

Hammonton artist Alicia Finger, 23, will exhibit paintings inspired by her love of ballet at The Grand Opera House Baby Grand Gallery, 818 N. Market St., Wilmington, Del., in June. She graduated from Hammonton High School in 2007, from Arcadia University in 2011, and will begin pursing her master's degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in the fall, said mom Ruthann Finger, of Hammonton.

Everyone Has a Story appears Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays.

Contact Michelle Brunetti Post: