SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - South Plainfield will host its 58th annual Labor Day Parade on Monday, Sept. 7 and the Public Celebrations Committee announced Tuesday that both Debbie Boyle and Charles Haus will both serve as Honorary Grand Marshals for 2015. Haus, who was nominated by his family, and Boyle, who was nominated by Georgeann and William Cochrane, Sr., are both longtime residents with strong community ties and decades of service to South Plainfield.
“I think it is great that we have two very deserving people that have given a lot to the community,” said Councilman and Committee Liaison Bobby Richkus. “Charlie Haus did so much for the community in the past and Debbie Boyle does so much today. It’s a great example of the past and present coming together as co-marshals.”
Debbie Boyle has lived in South Plainfield since 1997 and, for the past eight years, has been a member of the South Plainfield Board of Education, currently serving as its president.
Last March, Boyle was elected president of the Middlesex County School Boards Association (2014-2016) and in December began working as an advancement officer for Holy Savior Academy. Boyle served as president of the South Plainfield Middle School PTSO for eight years, was a volunteer director of the Riley School Drama Club for five years, was instrumental in starting the South Plainfield High School swim team and has served as a recreation basketball and softball coach.
Boyle, who personally records all South Plainfield Board of Education and Borough Council meetings, has served as chair of South Plainfield’s Shared Service Committee since 2008 and is also a member of the South Plainfield Business Association, the local chapter of UNICO, the South Plainfield Wellness Committee, the Public Celebrations Committee and the Suburban Women’s Club. She has personally worked with Relay for Life to host two events in South Plainfield and has organized and participated in town-wide clean ups in conjunction with the South Plainfield business Association, the Education Foundation and the Erica Lynn Foundation.
Additionally, Boyle and her husband Bob are co-chairs of the Boyle Memorial Foundation, which provides, among other things, scholarships to South Plainfield High School seniors and has, in the past, made contributions to various South Plainfield youth sports organizations.
“We have personally witnessed and been involved in Debbie’s caring and genuine concern for the people of South Plainfield, particularly the children,” said the Cochranes in their letter nominating Boyle for Grand Marshal. “If there is a cause, a benefit or a person in need you will find Debbie Boyle involved and that is why we feel she is most worthy of this nomination.”
For Boyle, being selected grand marshal is an honor in and of itself but sharing it will Haus makes it even more special. “This is very special to me and I am honored and humbled to be sharing this with Charlie,” said Boyle, whose husband grew up with and is close friends with Haus’ youngest son. “Charlie has been a major contributor to this community and has made many contributions. It really is a special privilege.”
Charles Haus’ roots in South Plainfield date back to the late 1950s and he is a two-time recipient of the South Plainfield Jaycees ‘Distinguished Service Award.’
In 1961, Haus was appointed to the borough’s Planning Board as well as to the Industrial Commission, where he was instrumental in establishing the Industrial Land Consolidation Program. That same year, Haus, a Republican, was elected councilman and, in 1965, he was re-elected to a second, consecutive term. It was during this time that Haus co-founded the Community Pool and served as its president, going door-to-door to raise money to fund the initial work. In 1969, Haus took some time off from the council, returning to the planning board until 1972 when he was once again elected councilman. Her served as council president in 1973 while also heading up the Texas Eastern Study Commission and simultaneously serving as police commissioner.
Later that same year, Haus earned the position he is perhaps most known for – tax collector. In 1993, after 20 years in the position, he retired and holds the honor of being the last elected tax collector in South Plainfield’s history. Being retired, however, did not deter his involvement and, over the years that followed, Haus remained an active member of the South Plainfield community. A veteran, he was active involved with both the American Legion and VFW and was also a member of the South Plainfield Senior Forum, the South Plainfield High School Hall of Fame Committee and a charter member of the Elks.
At age 87, Haus is one of the two oldest living former councilmen in South Plainfield. He and his wife, Ruth, have been married 62 years and raised three sons, Richard, Kenneth and William, in the borough. “When we look back, we can see that many decisions Charlie Haus and those he worked with 40, 50 and 60 years ago helped shape our town into what it is today,” said the Haus family in their nominating letter to the committee. “Charlie dedicated his life and his career to helping make our town the strong, vibrant community it has become.”
Haus said the honor is a pleasant surprise and one he didn't see coming. “I am still in a state of shock,” said Haus, noting that he didn't really give it much thought when his kids started asking a lot of questions about his involvement in the community. “I thought they were just trying to put stuff together in black and white instead of relying on memories.”
Haus, who personally assisted with numerous Labor Day Parades over the years, added that he is extremely thankful to the committee for selecting him. “I know firsthand all the work that goes into the Labor Day Parade and so many fine people in this town have served,” he said. “It is an honor to be selected and recognized as Grand Marshal.”