Dear Editor:

As I draw to the close of my seven years as Councilman, I would be remiss if I did not thank the voters and residents of Chatham Borough for giving me the honor of a
lifetime.

My late Dad emigrated to Jersey City, NJ from Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico in 1946. He came with a third grade education and the skill of upholstery. He found a job within 3 months and was paid by the piece of furniture he worked on. My late Mom emigrated to Jersey City, NJ from San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico in 1947 with no formal education. She found a job with the Dixon Crucible Company placing #2 leads in wooden pencils. My parents met in 1948, were married in 1949 and I came along in 1954.

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In his biggest earning year, my Father earned just $7,000. My Mom did not work after
she married because my Dad wanted her to raise a family. We lived in a tenement in
downtown Jersey City and moved to Bayonne in 1963. To make ends meet, it became necessary for my Dad to apply for food stamps. However, he always explained to me and my sister that he was accepting a hand up, not a handout. They sacrificed of themselves to send my sister and me to Catholic School and my Dad was determined we were to go to college and have an easier life than he. My Dad set the example of volunteerism by feeling he had to give back to the community as he was accepting government assistance. It was a lesson I learned well.

I was the first in the extended Resto family to earn a college degree. I can still see my parents beaming with tears rolling down their cheeks when I was awarded a college degree. My Dad passed in 1999 and my Mom in 2000; so, they never witnessed my winning elective office in 2009, being re-elected in 2012 and being elected once more in 2015. They would have been incredulous that in one generation, a member of the family had gone from living in a tenement, sometimes just eating two meals per day to having had a successful business career and having been elected to a Council position. To them, and to me, that is the promise of America- living the American Dream where anything is possible.

Now, you know why holding a Council seat was such an honor for me. You just don’t
get it “willy-nilly”. You prepare and work hard for it. My parents wouldn’t have believed it and you made it possible. Thank you, Chatham, for making my American Dream come true. It was an honor and a privilege to have served each of you. I hope I served you well and I look forward to helping Chatham’s new Council in whatever way I can; for their success will be Chatham’s success.

Sincerely,
Len Resto
Center Street
Chatham, NJ