ROXBURY, NJ - By picking Memorial Day to dump rain on Roxbury several times in recent years, Mother Nature hasn't exactly treated Roxbury Memorial Day Parade Committee Chairman Christine Houtz with much respect.
Tonight, the Roxbury Mayor and Council took the time to make things right.
The panel presented Houtz with a "Certificate of Appreciation and Thanks" for her "continued service" to the township.
The annual parade "is an absolutely wonderful event that happens every single year," said Roxbury Deputy Mayor Fred Hall before giving Houtz the certificate. That, however, isn't really accurate; despite Houtz's best efforts, rain forced the cancellation of the parade in 2016 and 2017.
Those were particularly tough days for Houtz and the parade committee, which spends many long hours lining-up parade participants every year. Clouds blocked the sun in 2018, but the parade went off OK. A beautiful day blessed the event this year.
Hall said the parade's success "is the result of the efforts of many, many people," But he said Houtz "in particular, needs to be recognized on a regular basis" for making it come together.
"She's in charge of this from year to year and does an absolutely wonderful job for the community," Hall said.
The deputy mayor said he marvels at the way Houtz manages to consistently put all the parts in place. "Frankly, Christine, I don't know how you do it," he said. "I really don't. The organizational skills you have to have in order to put this together are outstanding and you do a wonderful job for us every year."
Houtz said she was honored to be the chairperson, but added that Roxbury's military people and their families "should be receiving" the award. "It's very difficult," she said. "As a fellow military parent, having your sons or daughters in the military away from home is not easy."
She said she hopes that, "when the time comes" and she needs to step down from the parade committee, there will be "a long line of people behind me to take over this event."
Houtz said there are 400 to 500 people that need to be "lined up" each year for the parade.