WAYNE – Thursday’s weather was beautiful for the Wayne Township Parks & Recreation annual Senior Picnic. “Great food, dancing and even some swimming was enjoyed by many,” said Mayor Chis Vergano who spent all of his time at the event engaged with the seniors, talking, joking and answering their questions. “The Seniors in attendance today had a great time at our annual Senior Picnic.”
“We’re having a great day,” said Grace and Brian Reiner, adding: “This is the first year we qualified to attend the picnic.”
Andi Bailey has been coming to the picnic for five years. “This year,” she said, “the weather is perfect. Not too hot, not too cold, just lovely.”
Recreation Director Tim Roetman and his team hosts the event each year. “This year’s picnic was a huge success largely due to a team effort,” said Roetman. “Our staff worked hard to prepare for the event. The Parks Department always does and continues to do a wonderful job maintaining the facility. The grounds were in immaculate condition. The weather helped a ton; great weather always brings out a crowd. We had 286 seniors attend the picnic this year.”
Dorothy Birkner spoke while she was getting her blood pressure tested: “I’ve lived in Wayne for almost fifty years and I’ve been coming to the Senior Picnic since it began. The food is always good. The service is lovely, and you get to meet your town officials and see who is working for you, like Sheriff Berdnik and Mayor Vergano.”
The Passaic County Sheriff’s Office had a table set-up and manned by Detectives Crum and Kaba who gave out swag and socialized with the guests with big smiles. They were having as much fun as the seniors.
The town had a nice presence at the picnic as well. “The contributions from other municipal departments such as Health and Police were a key to the success of the picnic,” said Roetman. “The health department provided blood pressure screenings and information on vaccinations and other services available to the seniors. The Police assisted with setup and provided a hand during lunch as well.”
At one point, the Health department table was short-handed with only Public Health Supervisor, Diane Stable there. Her other two nurses, Sue Dervishi and Marianne Lennon had jumped up to join in the chicken dance.
Bill and Audrey Hampson, who moved to Wayne in 1955 and have been married for 66 years, were enjoying their 12th year at the picnic but spoke of the changes to the town since 1955. “When we moved here, it was only farms and houses, said Bill, a Korean War veteran. “There was an airport off of Church Lane at the time.” Audrey added: “It’s a great town, but it’s getting too crowded.” As members of the Golden Age club, they appreciate what Wayne Township does for seniors, “They provide good services for us,” said Audrey.
Mayor Vergano mentioned that he was asked why there was such a large police presence at the picnic. “They’re here to interact with you as part of our new community policing effort,” he answered.
Deputy Chief or the Wayne Police Department, Jack McNiff expanded on the Mayor’s comment: “Maintaining a safe community requires building relationships through community policing efforts. By building a positive relationship with the community we serve, lines of communication are opened, and that proves to be an effective crime prevention strategy. As Deputy Chief of Police, I am proud of the relationships our officers are building with our township”
It was clear by the smiles and laughter as the town’s representatives interacted with the guests at the picnic that these relationships are strong and getting stronger.
Birkner summed up the picnic for all involved: “It’s a grand time,” she said with a smile.