Arts & Entertainment

Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Thank You from 2018 West Orange Parade Grand Marshal Donald Shauger

f8cd3de6aae33e928319_waving3.jpg
Donald R. Shauger, Sr., 2018 West Orange St. Patrick's Day Parade Grand Marshal, waving to the crowd at the West Orange Parade on March 18, 2018 Credits: Alexandra Gakos
e6589b9fdf6fdd6184a5_brownbearquigleys.jpg
2018 West Orange St. Patrick's Day Parade Grand Marshal Donald R. Shauger, Sr. Credits: Alexandra Gakos
ab1da4fd2bee3457fa4b_Shauger_family.jpg
Shauger family Credits: Alexandra Gakos
b486cab9acf9088a4615_withdeputies.jpg
2018 West Orange St. Patrick's Day Parade Honorees: Deputy Grand Marshal Sean McGinley; Grand Marshal Donald R. Shauger, Sr.; Deputy Grand Marshal Robert Lynch; and Deputy Grand Marshal Brad Squires Credits: Alexandra Gakos
f8e4e008d85f1fe116c8_grouplawn.jpg
Parade Committee and Honorees Credits: Alexandra Gakos
8f575d7a2865fb51bae0_TSGparade.jpg
2018 West Orange St. Patrick's Day Parade Grand Marshal Donald R. Shauger, Sr. with a group of employees of The Shauger Group at the parade Credits: Alexandra Gakos
e87564b41755510a8e03_waving.jpg
Donald R. Shauger, Sr., 2018 West Orange St. Patrick's Day Parade Grand Marshal, and his wife, Lisa Shauger, waving to the crowd at the West Orange Parade on March 18, 2018 Credits: Alexandra Gakos
f5f458de82553be69562_solo.jpg
2018 West Orange St. Patrick's Day Parade Grand Marshal Donald R. Shauger, Sr. Credits: Alexandra Gakos
f8cd3de6aae33e928319_waving3.jpg

Dear family, friends, colleagues, members of the West Orange community, and all those who gathered to celebrate this year's West Orange Parade,

Not a day goes by when I am not grateful to have been raised in the incredible, warm, and welcoming community of West Orange. Not only was I raised by an amazing mother, I was raised by the community of West Orange—a community that helped my family through our struggles and was there for us every step of the way. I will never forget what this community has done for my family, so it has been nothing short of an honor for me to be able to give back to a community that has given so much to me.

When my mother was stretched thin from working long hours, raising five kids on her own, and caring for my sister, who was terminally ill, the community of West Orange stepped up to help my family. There are many moments of kindness that stand out in my mind—moments when friends and strangers truly showed us what community, friendship, love, and West Orange are all about. The incredible thing about West Orange is that everyone always looks out for one another: they stick by your side, in both good times and bad. I am always proud to say I wasn’t just raised in West Orange, I was raised by West Orange.

Sign Up for E-News

From the bottom of my heart, I am thankful to the West Orange community for embracing me throughout my entire life—and to the parade committee for humbling me with the honor of serving as 2018 Grand Marshal.

For the past 67 years, people from far and wide have flocked to West Orange to celebrate our town’s special St. Patrick’s Day tradition. Each year, the parade committee never fails to organize an amazing, unforgettable event—one that brings together friends to bond, reminisce, and share in their love of this special tradition.

The continued success of the parade is a testament to the dedication of the parade committee. The parade is an esteemed tradition—and one that wouldn’t be possible without the committee’s time, effort, and heartfelt devotion each year. Thank you to the parade committee for all they do to make this day a memorable one.

For all of you who joined us for the parade, I hope you enjoyed a wonderful day with your loved ones, while remembering those who were no longer here to celebrate the day with us. I know my mother and sister were with me in spirit at the parade, standing by my side and sharing in that special moment.

Some of my most vivid childhood memories center around the tradition of the West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Proud of my Irish heritage, I have always eagerly looked forward to St. Patrick's Day each year. We all have unforgettable memories from the parade—listening to the marching bands, watching the fire trucks, dressing head to toe in green, or marching down Main Street—but the community bonding on this day is what stands out most in my mind. The West Orange Parade has always been more than just a parade: it’s a symbol of friendship and unity. It brings people together in a celebration of faith, community, and Irish traditions, while both reuniting old friends and starting new friendships. The parade reminds us of what makes West Orange so special and lets us bond over our shared love of this town.

I can hardly believe this tradition I’ve loved since childhood is one I had the privilege of leading. I’d like to thank the parade committee and the entire West Orange community for this truly humbling honor. Congratulations to Deputy Grand Marshals Robert Lynch, Brad Squires, and Sean McGinley on their well-deserved honor and appointment; on behalf of my beloved hometown, I thank them for all they do for the community. It was an honor to stand alongside three individuals who truly embody the spirit of West Orange and what this great community represents.

Thank you to the West Orange Police Department, West Orange Fire Department, and West Orange Department of Public Works for all of their hard work in preparation for the parade and all year round. They had their work cut out for them in the aftermath of the recent storms, but they rose to the challenge and were tireless in their efforts to make sure the town was safe for everyone on parade day. 

Thank you to Lisa Elam and Alexandra Gakos for their hard work to ensure my involvement as Grand Marshal would be a success. Thank you to Lisa for helping make sure I was at every parade-related event when and where I needed to be. Thank you to Alexandra for helping me tell my story so eloquently—so that others could truly understand what West Orange means to me.

Thank you to my three parade aides, whom I chose symbolically to represent three very important facets of my life: religion, family, and friends. I am grateful that Father Jim Ferry, my priest at Our Lady of Lourdes Church; Therese Shauger, my sister-in-law; and Michael D’Aries, my lifelong friend since kindergarten, all were as enthusiastic about their roles in the parade as I was.

Thank you to my wife Lisa, my daughter Marisa, and my son Donnie, who’s also my chief of staff, for their unconditional love and support. I don’t know where I would be without them.

It was one of the greatest honors of my life to receive a call from the parade committee, telling me I had been chosen as Grand Marshal. It’s a moment I will never forget. Marching up Main Street with my family on the day of the parade, I got to relive a lifetime of memories in West Orange—from childhood on—and it was hard to hold back the tears.

It was especially moving to come to the end of the parade and hear the bells ringing at Our Lady of Lourdes Church for the first time in years—bells that Lisa and I just recently had refurbished as a donation to the church. As I stood listening to the bells, in front of the third-floor apartment I grew up in, it all came together and hit me hard. It was as if I were Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life: I felt like the richest person in the world. And I am—because I wasn’t raised in West Orange, I was raised by West Orange. My hometown. 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for this honor.

God bless,

Donald R. Shauger, Sr., 2018 West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Hanover/Florham Park

Florham Park Prepares for the Fourth

Its time for one of Florham Park's shining moments. The Fourth of July parade is not only the kick of to summer, it continues the legacy of being among the oldest Independence day celebrations in New Jersey. this year the festivities are set and the schedule of events is as follows;

9:00am  Flag raising ceremony at the Florham Park Fire House

9:30am  Parade begins on ...

Important Message for Florham Park Residents Regarding the Fourth of July

Important July 4th Celebration Reminder - Please be advised in the interest of safety and security, the entire parade route will be CLOSED TO ALL TRAFFIC beginning at 8:30am on July 4, 2018. This will impact residents who live along the parade route and all of the side streets that connect to the parade route. (Please see the map attached to this post)

Please ensure that you plan accordingly ...

Freeholders Approve 21 Historic Preservation Grants Including Florham Park and Hanover Township Properties

July 16, 2018

The Morris County Board of Freeholders unanimously approved $2.2 million in county historic preservation grants to be financed by the county’s 2018 Preservation Trust Fund to help preserve, restore, or protect historic sites in 16 towns across Morris County.

The vote was taken at the Freeholder Board’s meeting held in Mount Olive, which will get $198 000 in construction ...

Belmar Parasail: Soar Into Summer with a High-Flying Adventure Along the Beachfront

July 12, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — As Belmar finally basks in picture-perfect weather, it may be time to check off a summer activity on your bucket list. And for many, parasailing is one of those “must-do” experiences.

At Belmar Parasail, the season is in full swing, offering boat trips from the Belmar Manutti Marina to the beachfront where passengers are lifted 500 feet above the Atlantic Ocean ...

New Jersey Average Gas Prrice Down Slightly; Record Holiday Travel Week Underway

Florham Park, N.J.- The average price at the pump in New Jersey is $2.88 today, one cent cheaper than last week ($2.89), according to AAA Northeast’s weekly survey of fuel prices. Today’s average price is 13 cents cheaper than one month ago ($3.01), but 60 cents higher than it was on July 2, 2017 ($2.28).

 

AAA’s July 2nd survey of ...

LBI Summer Soiree "Boardwalk Nights" on Friday, August 10 at the Sea Shell Resort and Beach Club to Benefit David's Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation

BEACH HAVEN - On August 10, the inaugural LBI Summer Soiree “Boardwalk Nights” (formerly Island Gala) will take  to the breathtaking Sea Shell Resort & Beach Club on Friday, August 10 to benefit David's Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation.

The LBI Summer Soiree is brought to you by key supporting company D. Finelli Construction. David Finelli was ...

Rutgers Football Zack Heeman Among the Allstate and AFCA 2018 Good Works Team Nominees

July 17, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.-Across America,  college football players receive praise for their superior performance on the field. Today, however, only a select group of those student-athletes have the honor of being commended for their distinguished accomplishments off the field when Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) announce 169 nominees for the 2018 ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.

 

 

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_79d791602b5680d23c85_original

Tue, July 24, 7:00 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Meet the Author: Lucy Tan

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sings Conclude with Verdi ...

Arts & Entertainment

Mon, July 30, 9:00 AM

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, Little Falls

Yogi Berra Museum Summer Baseball Camp

Education Health & Wellness Sports

17 Fascinating Facts About Rutgers Athletics

July 10, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - For all the critics of the athletics program at New Jersey’s largest public university, there are more than a dozen reasons to cheer for successes of the sports programs and teams on the playing fields, in classrooms and beyond.

Here are 17 on the field and off the field things this took place this past academic year at Rutgers University:

1. Rutgers had four ...

Obituaries

Beverly Jean (Charlton) Weimar, of Ship Bottom, and Florham Park, New Jersey passed away on March ...
Read more

Education: A Bedrock of Democracy, Civic Engagement and Economic Prosperity

July 5, 2018

More than 240 years ago, our nation’s founders envisioned a country where individuals could forge their own destinies and not be constrained by the circumstances of birth. The essential concept was that people could govern themselves and participate in democracy, or what Benjamin Franklin and others called “a great experiment.” The vision was bold and has flourished as the ...

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Help Smokers Quit

July 17, 2018

 

TRENTON – The Murphy administration on Monday announced new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in New Jersey, leading to chronic lung disease, heart disease, stroke and cancer,” said New ...