FRANKLIN BOROUGH, NJ – Franklin Borough senior citizens gathered on Saturday for a special luncheon, and awards ceremony honoring Franklin’s Senior Citizen of the Year, Dr. Richard W. Scott, a lifetime Franklin resident, who also maintains a dental practice in town.
Scott is also a resident of Culver Lake, N.J., in Frankford Township.
The luncheon and presentation of the “Senior Citizen Award 2012” took place at the Franklin Fire Department's firehouse.
The fire department made, and served up the buffet lunch for their guests, and, The Franklin Band provided entertainment at the event.
Scott, who is also a musician, was unsuspecting of receiving the award, and, had been asked to come play at the event. He played a few sets during the beginning of the luncheon, including “The Pennsylvania Polka,” and “The Electric Slide,” before The Franklin Band played.
The Franklin Fire Department, Franklin Exempt Firefighters, and, the Franklin and Ogdensburg F.O.P. 57 (Fraternal Order of Police), sponsored the event. Previously, the borough itself had overseen the ceremonies, which was cut due to budgets. The department took over the organization of the event for the first time last year, after it was slated to take place during council meetings. The department wanted to continue the celebratory environment for the seniors, as part of their tradition of community outreach.
“They now run it [the award presentation] at council meetings,” said councilman Joe Limon, who is also an ex-fire chief, and member of the department. “We took the event, luncheon, and entertainment. It’s good, it’s a nice day for the seniors.”
Limon, and Franklin Fire Chief Fred Babcock, helped present the award, along with Franklin Borough Mayor Paul Crowley, and Donald Kovach, a founder of Sussex Bank and a member of its Board of Directors (Scott had also served on the bank’s board for 36 years).
In addition to the award plaque, a street sign will hang by Franklin Borough Hall, recognizing Scott, and, Scott received his own duplicate street sign.
“We run this to take care of our seniors, we like to honor our seniors,” said Babcock.
“In the spirit of Oktoberfest, we’re here to play 15 Irish pieces,” was the joke, which came from The Franklin Band, as they proceeded to play Polkas for the seniors.
Several of the senior ladies danced around the floor to the songs the band played.
At about 1:30 p.m., after the arrival of Scott’s family members, the award was presented to him.
“Dr. Richard W. Scott, DDS, is a true son of Franklin,” said Kovach. “His life story begins at birth here in Franklin as the second child, the son of Margaret and Dr. John Scott M.D. I’m not certain, but I believe he was born in the same home where he resides today, 1 Oak Street.”
Scott joined brother Bill, and was followed by brothers Dave, and John George, and sister Margaret (Peggy).
Kovach said Scott graduated from Franklin High School a year after he did, with high honors in 1954. He played basketball, and served on the student council, and as the class president. Scott was also crowned King of the Prom. He also followed other endeavors, especially music, golf, hockey, and swimming.
“Dick attended East Carolina University in 1954 and 1955, continuing his joy of music by joining a college dance band consisting of 16 members, called the ‘Collegians,’” said Kovach. “The ‘Collegians’ played throughout North Carolina, including the Wilmington Festival, Paris Island Marine Base, college dances at Duke University, North Carolina University, and many high school proms.”
Scott transferred to the University of Florida in 1955, graduating with a triple major in 1958 in Chemistry, Biology, and Psychology.
His doctor’s internship was next, said Kovach, as he attended Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Dentistry in Teaneck, N.J., from 1959 to 1963 (classmate Howard Worts, also started his practice in Branchville).
Scott has been known to travel throughout his lifetime, said Kovach, beginning right after college in 1958 as a pianist, and musical entertainer with the orchestra on the “SS Evangeline,” sailing from Miami to ports in the Caribbean, until Fidel Castro took over Cuba, and the cruise was cancelled.
In 1967, Scott’s father recommended he assist those in need, and, Scott traveled to Africa as a missionary, providing basic dental care for a month to African citizens. Kovach said during Scott’s trip, which he was stationed in an outdoor location with no electricity, Scott told him he pulled about 1,000 teeth.
Kovach said Scott has experienced world leisure travel, which has “set him apart from most of us.” Trips included: time in Europe to ski the Alps; a trip by motorcycle to Nice, France; trips to Miltenberg (Germany), Dunkirk (France), Amsterdam (the Netherlands) Hamburg (Germany), London (England), Denmark and Sweden; and he stayed with the Lamb family (previous Franklin residents), in Scotland, where he played golf at the famous St. Andrews, where he scored a 93 on the course.
Scott had served three terms on the Franklin Borough Council, and two as mayor.
“Dick is referred to as the guy who has a ball,” said Kovach.
He recounted how in Culver Lake, as Scott jogged around the lake, he would also bounce a tennis ball.
“I always thought, until recently, how he lived his life,” Kovach said, referring to the analogy with Scott’s bouncing the ball during his jog. “He does have a ball.”
“This is a great distinction, and great honor,” said Scott of the award, as he also lauded the Franklin Fire Department, Wallkill Valley First Aid Squad, and, The Franklin Band, for their volunteer services to the community.