RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph Township Council held a special night to honor some township volunteers. Mayor Christine Carey shared her words on some very important people to Randolph, Carey’s words from the evening are below:
“The first recognition presentation on our program tonight is bittersweet. In 2019, we sadly lost 2 wonderful people who served for decades on advisory boards and committees in Randolph and for whom volunteerism and community service was just second nature. They never said, “I don’t have the time”. They just believed that community service was the right thing to do.
The first person I would like to talk about is Ethan Blynn.
Ethan was a longstanding volunteer in Randolph. I believe he first got involved in community service in Randolph when his children, Jamie and Daniel, were young, attending Center Grove School and his wife, Terry, was very involved in the PTA and school fundraisers. Ethan, being a great dad, was always available to help when he could. In 2002, that desire to help eventually led to his running for and being elected to serve on the Randolph Board of Education, for 3 consecutive terms - a total of 9 years. During that time, Ethan was intimately involved in many projects and policy decisions that were instrumental in building a stronger educational system for Randolph school students that continue to impact thousands of young people in our community today. For many years while on the Board of Education, Ethan chaired the Finance, Facilities and Transportation committee and the Negotiations Committee. Neither of which could ever be described as “easy”.
After leaving the Board of Education, Ethan wasn’t done. He then volunteered to serve on various township committees. For many years, he served on the Economic Development Committee, the Parks Committee, the Wildlife Committee and the Parks Master Plan Steering Committee which led to the design of the new Veterans’ Community Park being built on Calais Road. During his time on these committees, Ethan consistently demonstrated his commitment to Randolph and worked to make our community an even better place to live. Ethan was always willing to spend extra hours serving the residents of Randolph. His feedback and advice was always well-thought-out and considerate of the “greater good”.
In the last few years, while experiencing serious health issues, Ethan continued to serve on volunteer committees and most people didn’t even know that he would often come directly to committee meetings in the evening after spending the day in NYC at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center receiving cancer treatment. He never brought up his health challenges, and he never complained.
Ethan’s kindness and generous volunteerism have left a lasting impact on the Randolph community.
In 2013, he was recognized by the Randolph Education Foundation as a Rock Star in our community. Tonight we recognize him for a lifetime of achievement.
Most important to me is that I am able to say that Ethan was a very dear friend of mine and my family. I’m very happy to present this special recognition tonight to his wife, Terry and his daughter, Jamie.
John Jerow was another outstanding volunteer in the Randolph community who we lost last year. I first met John in 1994 when I was appointed to serve on the Library Board of Trustees. John was already a trustee, and he would be at every meeting, asking questions, providing insights and making thoughtful recommendations. He really taught me what it meant to serve on an advisory board. John eventually left the Library Board to serve as a member of the Planning Board from 1999 until his passing last year, so he spent a full 20 years on the Planning Board. He served as both the Chairman and the Vice-chairman of the Board at various times. He also volunteered for special ad hoc committees, such as the 2016 Master Plan Reexamination Report committee as well as the 2017 Mt. Freedom Planning Study committee.
During John’s tenure on the Planning Board, many notable applications that have really shaped Randolph were reviewed, including Boulder Ridge, Waterfall Estates, Kensington Square, Heritage 55 on Dawson Brook, Meadow Wood Manor, Aashirwad Palace, Aspen Ice, Sunrise Assisted Living, Brightview. John had input into all of those applications and was really part of creating the Randolph that we know today. John displayed the highest level of commitment, fundamental fairness, integrity and expertise to all matters that came before the Board. The Board would often rely upon John’s vast knowledge of the township and understanding of planning law when reviewing applications. In every matter that John was asked to participate during his many years, he insured that the best interests of the Township of Randolph were served.
In addition to being on the Library Board with John, I had the opportunity to sit on the Planning Board for a short time and on the Master Plan subcommittee with John. And in all honesty, when I came into a meeting, I always tried to get a seat near John. His dry wit and sarcastic sense of humor kept me entertained during meetings that might not be totally interesting. I remember many stories from John about his travels with his wife, Fran. While I came back from a week at the Jersey shore, John would talk about his month long trip to Europe or on an African safari and other exotic trips. He always made me feel like I had to up my game with my vacation planning. And he would also talk about his son John and later John’s family.
We miss John’s humor and wisdom and his contributions to Randolph are long-lasting. It’s with great pleasure tonight I present this special recognition for John Jerow’s lifetime of volunteerism in Randolph to John’s son, John and his family, wife Heli, and sons Jack, James and Joseph.”
The 2019 Volunteer of the Year Award was also presented. Each year, we ask all the committees to consider nominating a member who exemplifies the ideals of volunteerism.
The award this year went to Evelyn Hammaren. Evelyn is a former Randolph High School librarian who retired in 1997 and has been serving as a member of the Randolph Board of Trustees since August 2004. The last 4 years she has served as the Board Secretary. During the 15+ years she has served on the Library Board, she has brought to the board the perspective of an active library patron, a lover of books and as a former Randolph High School Librarian, a professional. This perspective has been an asset to the Board’s decision-making process.
As a long-term, dedicated volunteer, Evelyn has been a conscientious and diligent trustee who has worked to make the Library a cornerstone of the Randolph community and to improve reading and literacy programs for Randolph youth.
Over her tenure on the Board of Trustees Evelyn has been an active board member. She was a strong advocate for the creation of the successful Teen Zone. She also supported the building of the extension for the large meeting room and the creation of the beautiful and calming Water Wall reading area.
In January 2017 when it came time to select a new Library Director, Evelyn played a key role on the search committee, reviewing the applications and resumes, interviewing the candidates and participating in the final selection process.
Evelyn is also an active member of the friends of the Randolph Library where she volunteers to further promote and enable the mission of the library.