SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – South Plainfield will host its 61st Annual Labor Day Parade on Monday, Sept. 3 and, for 2018, the borough’s Public Celebrations Committee has selected Joe Scrudato as the Honorary Grand Marshal.Scrudato, who was nominated by Council President Robert Bengivenga, Jr., has resided in the borough for 24 years.
“This is such an honor and a complete surprise,” Scrudato told TAPinto South Plainfield. “It is beyond belief and one of the best honors I have received living in South Plainfield. I would like to thank Rob for his nomination and the committee for selecting me.”
Scrudato grew up in Colonia and, after he and his wife Sharon were married, spent a few years in Franklin Park before settling down in South Plainfield in 1994. The Scrudatos will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in March and are parents to Alyssa, 26, Rachel, 24, and Jack, 19.
In selecting an honorary grand marshal for the parade each year, the 11-member Public Celebrations Committee accepts nominations from the community, reviews submissions, collaborates, and votes. In preparing his nomination letter to the committee, Bengivenga worked with Sharon to compile a two-page list of Scrudato’s achievements, community service, and volunteerism in South Plainfield.
“She was asking me all these questions when we were on vacation. I didn't think much of it,” Scrudato said. “Now I know why she was asking.”
On a local front, Scrudato served the borough as a councilman for three years (2007-2009); was a member of the Planning Board for just as long; and, for a decade, served on the Public Celebrations Committee. Currently, he serves on the South Plainfield Board of Adjustment and the Mayor’s Wellness Committee.
“Joe and I worked together on the council for two years in a bipartisan fashion. I always respected Joe and consider him a good friend,” stated Bengivenga in his letter of nomination. “There is no party affiliation when it comes to giving back to our community and I am honored to nominate Joe for grand marshal.”
In addition to serving the borough, Scrudato has also been involved with various groups and organizations over the past two decades. He has served as ‘Santa’ for the South Plainfield Fire Department for the past 10 years; trustee of the South Plainfield High School Booster Club for eight years; served on the board of the South Plainfield Junior Baseball Club (SPJBC) for the past eight years; and currently serving as the commissioner for the past three years; and has coached and managed both SPJBC rec baseball and travel baseball. He was also a coach for the Ponytail Softball, PAL Basketball, and Pop Warner Football organizations.
Scrudato is a past member of the finance committee at Our Lady of Czestochowa and also served as chairperson for the Super 50/50 for five years. He helps sell raffle tickets and call numbers at Roosevelt Elementary School’s annual Designer Bag Bingo fundraiser and can often be found manning the grill at both church events and high school football games.
A member of the South Plainfield Knights of Columbus Council #6203 for 20 years, Scrudato is a two-term Grand Knight and was Faithful Navigator of the 4th degree for two years. Through his commitment to the Knights, Scrudato has also served as chair of numerous committees, helped build handicap ramps in town, cooked and served food at spaghetti and fish dinners, run trivia nights, and organized the Keystone Community Lunch and Christmas dinners and bingo events at the Menlo Park Veteran’s Home.
Additionally, he has served as the organization’s Youth Squire leader for three years and established a scholarship program to reward the Squires and members’ children and grandchildren for all they do to support the Knights.
“Joe can’t say ‘no’ to helping the youth and community of South Plainfield in whatever it needs. He tries to give back each day,” stated Bengivenga. “Joe is a role model for everyone he touches in life but most of all the children and those in need in South Plainfield…He is deserving of this honor.”
“Joe Scrudato is someone who has always stepped up to help organizations and residents when help is needed. He has always been they are for all and never looked for recognition for himself,” added Debbie Boyle, chair of the Public Celebrations Committee. “It is truly an honor to have somebody such as Joe be nominated and have the entire committee unanimously voted for this selection.”
“Growing up, my parents always instilled in me and my siblings that we should help as much as we can in our Community. My always father told me ‘if you can help one person in life, you have accomplished great things as a person,” Scrudato told TAPinto. “That’s my motto. I live by that and always try to help as many people as I can.”
The Honorary Grand Marshal added that special thanks go to ‘a special person in his life.’ “I would also like to thank my wife Sharon for her support in allowing me to be as involved as I am,” Scrudato said, “She is my number one supporter.”
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