HOPATCONG, NJ – Senior citizens packed the gazebo behind the senior center on Saturday, June 29, for the annual senior picnic.
Emcee for the picnic was Marie Galate, borough council’s liaison to the seniors. She did not stop announcing the tables to go up for the buffet, answering questions and assisting with the recognition of the Seniors of the Year for 2013.
Each year, seniors who volunteer in the community, are honored by the borough.
This year’s honorees are Loretta Rankin and John Maine.
Rankin is the president of Seniors Incorporated, one of two senior citizen groups in the borough. She was a trustee of the group for a few years before that. The 44-year borough resident has long been a volunteer.
She was a junior track coach for years, taught CCD at St. Jude’s for 11 years, and worked Bingo at the church for a number of years.
Of her six children, one daughter lives in the borough. The others live in Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire and on the other side of the lake in Mount Arlington.
John Maine identifies himself as a “migrant from Brooklyn.”
He came in 1972 and worked in the area for accounting firms. He also taught accounting and bookkeeping classes in adult schools. He is now a substitute teacher in four high schools and two middle schools. He was an adjunct professor at Centenary College in Hackettstown for a year as well.
Main also set up an internship program at Hopatcong High School.
“It’s on hiatus now,” he said, “because I can’t get kids interested in going into accounting.”
Though retired, he maintains his accounting firm, JHM, with clients in New Jersey and in New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland, even a couple in California.
“All states are in the tax program,” he explained.
After serving one two-year term as president of Seniors Inc., he is now in his second term as treasurer.
“It took a little time to get back in the good graces of the IRS,” he noted.
Like many non-profits, the group neglected to file an in-lieu of tax form.
“For a couple of years we had to file a corporate tax return,” he said, but “we got a pass from New Jersey,” and have their tax-exempt status back.
Maine lives with his wife in Hopatcong. He daughter also lives in the borough and his son is in Connecticut.
Although he has no grandchildren, he has “adopted” a number of children in the community has honorary grandchildren.
"I consider them part of the extended family, “ he said.
Besides Seniors Inc., the borough has the Golden Lunch Bunch with about 40 members and some unaffiliated seniors. All are invited to the two big borough events, the summer picnic and the winter “spaghetti supper.”
“We never serve spaghetti,” Galate said. “We serve everything else. The Knights of Columbus provide the food and the Mayor and Council serve.”
Food for the picnic was provided by Sabrett, Galate said. She said many local businesses provided door prizes.
“I have a trunk full of stuff,” she said, “and Sylvia [Mayor Petillo] has an envelope full of gift certificates.”
Music was provided by DJ Mike.
“I really work for this event,” she added.
Galate said she loves working with the seniors. “Most of the people here are from the Greatest Generation, I like to help them all I can.”
It goes both ways, she noted. Seniors let her know when cars are parked on borough streets during a snowstorm. Many roads will not accommodate snow plows with any cars parked. One senior even alerted her to a chop shop operating in the borough. “She said cars were pulling in and then leaving with different license plates.”
The senior citizens advisory committee is: Petillo, Galate, Rankin, Dorothy Bruno, Pat Dixon, Connie Janowski, Joan Major, Sal Fiorentino, Leonard Katchmaric and Sue Parichuk, borough recreation director. The picnic committee was Parichuk, Borough Clerk Catherine Gleason, Borough Administrator Robert Elia, Bruno and Laura Burns. Transportation was provided by Marty Petrizzo.
Contributors to the door prizes were: A Cut Above, Castaways Restaurant, D.P.S. Pump Service, Dolan & Dolan, Dr. Jay Yarnis, Dunkin Donuts, Forster & Abore, Franks Pizza, Gruber & Colabella, Headquarters Salon, Hopatcong Hardware, JHM Accounting, Katz Marina, Lakeside Construction, Lakeside Tire & Repair, Leber Lakeside Funeral Home, Matty’s Auto Body Shop, Medicine Shoppe, Needles & Pins, Pavinci Italian Grill, Sniffen Paving & Trucking, Villa Nova, Weldon Quarry, Basil Castrovinci & Associates, Hopatcong Fire Department, Art Bonito of Jefferson Highlights Community Television, Joey’s, Nails Plus, Bagels on the Hill, Uncle Sam’s Bagels, E & T Deli, J & J Automotive.
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