SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - If you are one of the many who travel from the South Orange train station, you will no longer see the familiar face of Joe Kelly at the ticket window, as he retired on Monday, April 23, after 42 years with NJ Transit, and 24 years in South Orange.
The South Orange Board of Trustees (BOT) recognized Kelly with a proclamation at the Monday night BOT meeting, with many from the community, as well as Kelly's colleagues and family, coming out to give their congratulations, their thanks, and wish him well as he begins his retirement.
South Orange resident Trudy Mazin presented Kelly with a memory book and memory board with well-wishes from the many commuters who came to know Kelly through the years.
Trustee Mark Rosner read part of the resolution, which honored and congratulated Kelly on his retirement.
South Orange Village President Sheena Collum thanked Kelly for being a "source of sunshine" and a "gentleman," adding, "we wish you the best, and you always have a home here."
Several representatives from NJ Transit spoke thanking Kelly for providing exemplary customer service, and also thanking South Orange for recognizing Kelly's contributions to community life.
John Leon of NJ Transit said that Kelly's retirement celebration was unique, adding, "I have not seen this is other communities... it's a reflection on Joe and on the community."
Kelly, who began working for NJ Transit when he was 18-years-old, shared that he was a second generation railroad employee, and that he plans to travel the world now that he is retired.
"I will miss everyone," stated Kelly, thanking all for their well-wishes, and sharing that he will miss the customers, who is called "the best" and who he said made coming to work fun.
Kelly also thanked his family and the many co-workers who came to celebrate his retirement, and promised the community he would be back, but that it would be on a nice summer day, "because I'm done with winter."
At the conclusion of Kelly's remarks, everyone stood and applauded, followed by the formal vote on the resolution, which unsurprising, passed unanimously.