RANDOLPH, NJ- On July 6, a group of family, friends, elected officials and well-wishers gathered at Freedom Park as the Randolph Township Council dedicated a park bench to Kathy and Gary Algeier.
The Algeiers were long-time residents of Randolph who relocated to South Carolina in 2014. The bench, with a dedication plaque reading: In honor of Kathy and Gary Algeier in recognition and appreciation of your support for Freedom Park, was unveiled at the end of the ceremony.
Russ Newman, Director of Randolph Parks, Recreation and Community Services, opened the program by introducing Township Manager Steve Mountain, Township Clerk Donna Luciani and Assistant Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services Jeanne Montemarano. Newman explained that the Randolph Township Commemorative Bench Program offers donors the opportunity to dedicate a park bench to honor individuals, or as a celebration of a special event. He then turned the program over to Mayor Christine Carey.
Mayor Carey welcomed the group and introduced elected officials in attendance: Senator Tony Bucco, Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, Deputy Mayor Mark Forstenhausler, Councilman Al Napoliello, Councilman Mike Guadagno, Councilman Jim Loveys, Councilman Lance Tkacs and former Councilman Roman Hirniak. Also in attendance were Township Attorney Ed Buzak and County Freeholder candidate Heather Darling. Carey then outlined the many accomplishments of Gary and Kathy Algeier during the time they lived in Randolph. A copy of Carey's presentation is below:
"Good evening and welcome.
Thank you so much for coming tonight as we honor Gary and Kathy Algeier through the Randolph Township bench dedication program.
Most of you here probably know Gary and Kathy very well, but I do want to take some time to outline some of the many contributions they made to our community.
Kathy and Gary moved to Randolph in 1976 and over the next 38 years they served the community in many ways. During that time, they made many contributions to our community and worked to make Randolph an even better place where life is worth living.
While raising their family of four children, Kathy became active in the Randolph PTA. She served as President of Shongum School PTA for two years and was also President of the Randolph PTA Council. She served on the School District’s Curriculum Committee for four years providing input into curriculum decisions.
Kathy went on to serve on the Randolph Library Board of Trustees for 15 years, seeing the library through much growth and transition, retiring from the Board in 2014.
Kathy was also a long-standing volunteer at the Randolph Food Bank and was recognized with the Randolph “Volunteer of the Year” award from the Community Services section of the Parks and Recreation and Community Services Department in 2013.
For 15 years, Kathy volunteered and served as a member of the Board of Trustees for El Primer Paso Nursery School located in Dover. For those who don’t know, El Primer Paso is a non-profit organization that provides high-quality, early childhood programs with a focus on dual language learners. Upon her retirement from the Board of Trustees, her work and service for the school was honored with a formal resolution from the New Jersey Legislature.
Gary chose a different route to serve the Randolph community. He served on the Randolph Town Council for 15 years from 1996 until July 2011 when he resigned because he was appointed by Governor Christie to be a judge in the Superior Court of New Jersey.
During his years on the Council, Gary served as Deputy Mayor and also served as Mayor of Randolph for two terms in 2003 and in 2006. He worked in almost every aspect of town government, serving on various committees, including many years on the Planning Board.
Gary was a member of the Randolph Kiwanis and the New Jersey Planning Officials Association, and served on the Board of Trustees of the Housing Partnership for Morris County. He also served as Vice Chairman of Morris County’s Open Space Committee.
Gary was very involved in local sports programs, both coaching and organizing. He refereed high school varsity athletics in both soccer and girls’ lacrosse from 1992 to 2011.
In the late 90’s, when Randolph’s population was growing and we seemed to have run out of enough park space and athletic fields, he was instrumental in creating the vision for Freedom Park as the centerpiece of the community. He worked very hard gathering public support for the project and making sure the design was one that would embody his vision. That’s actually when I first met Gary. I was the President of the Center Grove PTA and he called me to ask if he could attend a meeting to present the plan to build Freedom Park.
So, as we stand here today, in the middle of this beautiful park, surrounded by games being played, teams practicing and people enjoying themselves, please join me in thanking Gary and Kathy for everything they have done for Randolph."
Carey asked if others would like to speak and Councilman Al Napoliello, Councilman Jim Loveys and Councilman Mike Guadagno each spoke of the respect and admiration they have for the Algeiers and how grateful they were for what the couple had done for the Randolph community during their time in Randolph. Guadagno pointed out that Gary Algeier had also been responsible for spearheading the creation of the Randolph Open Space and Recreation Trust Fund which provides funding to acquire and maintain open space and parks.
Gary and Kathy each spoke to the crowd expressing their appreciation for the recognition. They reminisced about their life and friends in Randolph and joked about the many challenges they had faced years ago getting public support to build Freedom Park. Gary pointed out that Kathy had actually been the one to come up with the name “Freedom Park”. Gary informed the crowd that he is writing a book about his experiences in Randolph and distributed a chapter from the book, asking for feedback.