Morristown/Mendham Life May 2024

Priest-Chaplains Stand with Law Enforcement
By Henry. M Holden
A priest chaplain is a volunteer non-paid position that provides members, their families, and the community with spiritual counseling, religious referral, and general character guidance through the various religious denominations within our society.

Father Michael Drury (Fr. Mike) when growing up thought he wanted to be a cop.  But the Lord had another vocation for him. He was ordained a Catholic Priest on May 4, 1974, and retired after 50 years from active diocesan priesthood on June 19, 2019

The Washington Township Emergency Services recently celebrated 30 years of service for Chaplain Father Mike Drury and his 80th birthday!
“Father Mike is a pivotal part of the Washington Township Emergency Services, and we appreciate all he does for us,” said one of the Washington Valley firefighters.
Father Drury first started serving as an assistant chaplain in 1971 for the Maryland State Penitentiary and later became an assistant jail chaplain for Passaic County Jail in 1975. He has served as a State Police Chaplain since 2007. Today, Fr. Mike estimates he has served well over 1,000 chaplain calls.
For the last 40 years, he also has served as a police chaplain for Mendham Borough and Mendham Township Police Departments. He also serves as a police Chaplain for New Jersey Transit Police and
became a chaplain for the United States Secret Service.
He became associated with the Secret Service several years ago through Jim Henry, special agent in charge of the Philadelphia office, and a parishioner of St. Luke Parish, in Long Valley where Father Mike formerly served as pastor for 25 years. Father Mike participated in a federal training program for chaplains.
Father Mike is a member of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, International Conference of Police Chaplains, and the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress.
He is also a certified as a pastoral counselor, crisis intervention counselor, critical incident debriefer, and in Basic and Advanced Critical Incident Stress Management.
For police chaplains, it’s about building relationships with law enforcement, and the officers they serve in good times, such as baptizing their children, to the tough times, and the horrors they have experienced or witnessed.
These days it is not uncommon for police officers to get caught up in violent situations, such as shootings, and see gruesome murders in the line of duty, unspeakable brutality, and horrific acts.
“There are some dark things that officers see or experience that they don’t want to bring back home,” said Fr. Mike. “They need someone to share them with, and someone who will put their arms around them when they are crying.
“We chaplains make an impact,” said Father Mike. “We help these officers make sense of the insanity — the evil — and help them still believe that beauty still exists in the world. We try to bring officers hope and healing,” he said.
On December 24, 1984, Christmas Eve, two boys ages 11 and 12 were fishing in an area off Mount Pleasant Road, called Dismal Harmony Park Woodland Lake, in Mendham Township, when they made a gruesome discovery. They had found several trash bags, not easy to see from the road. Out of curiosity, they opened one and discovered the body of an infant girl wrapped in a towel.
The cause of death, according to the medical examiner was from exposure to the elements and hypothermia. The medical examiner determined the death was ruled a homicide, as the baby still had the umbilical cord attached and was alive at birth, but died less than 24 hours later.
For the next five years the Mendham Township Police Department (MTPD) chased down leads, but all went nowhere. They canvased surrounding counties, and checked nearby hospital records, and visited high schools to see if there was a teen who may have been hiding a pregnancy. And then the case went cold and was forgotten.

And then someone on the MTPD realized that the baby was still in the freezer, which prompted action.
Because of advanced DNA testing almost 40 years later a match was made to a relative on Mary’s DNA. Typically, only felons or those suspected of felonies would be in the database. The DNA was pointing to someone on the father’s side.
Through rigorous detective work, a woman was identified and charged in her newborn girl’s death. The biological mother, who police did not name because she was 17, and a juvenile at the time when she gave birth to the child.
The biological father died before being identified, and police say there is no evidence he was aware of either the woman’s pregnancy or the baby’s birth and death.
The MTPD assumed custody of the Baby and called in Chaplain Father Mike.
The baby girl was adopted by the MTPD, and Fr. Mike baptized and named her “Mary,” a homage to the Blessed Mother, at the time of Christmas.
In 1987, with the assistance of Chaplain Mike she was buried at St. Joseph Catholic Church Cemetery off Route 24, in Mendham Borough.
In 2014, Chief Steven Crawford called for a re-examination of Baby Mary’s case for the upcoming 30th anniversary. Additional tissue samples from Baby Mary were given to the state for further testing.
After a DNA match from someone on the father’s side the mother was located now living in North Carolina.
On April 24, 2023, a juvenile delinquency complaint was filed against the biological mother of Baby Mary. In April 2024 the baby’s mother was identified and arrested on a Juvenile charge. The now 57-year-old mother was sentenced to 364 days in the Morris County jail along with two years’ probation.
Baby Mary is currently resting alongside another unknown baby, Baby “Hope,” is a cold case of an abandoned infant tossed from a car and found dead near Route 78 on Dec. 18, 1991. She was discovered seven years after Baby Mary was found, police said.
The babies lie next to each other with head stones donated by members of the MTPD, and caring people.
Father Mike has a couple friends in their late ‘’80s who before moving to Florida donated their two cemetery plots which happen to be, right behind the girl’s graves. Father Mike said, “When I die, I want be buried right behind these two innocent babies who had nobody to care for them.”
“As each year passes, we try to honor their memory on Christmas Eve at noon, so they ae not forgotten.”
The epitaph on Baby Mary’s headstone reiterates the child’s place with those who have embraced her case as well as in heaven. The scripture reads, “I will never forget you; I have carved you in the palm of my hand.” Isaiah 49:15
Chief Ross Johnson also marks the occasion by reading the poem “Roses in December” at the grave site.
The poem’s first verse says, “God gave us memory that we may have roses in December and snowflakes in July, that we may find laughter amid the tears and sunshine even on the darkest days.”
In other times, chaplains and other clergy reach out to police officers who are hospitalized because of injuries, or are dying, and to the families of officers, who are sick, dying or are deceased.

Father Michael Drury serves as the N.J. State Police and the Mend­ham Borough and Mendham Township police departments. He said he also understands the need to cultivate close personal relationships with officers.
He serves Troop B of the State Police, which covers a territory from Totowa, up north to
Sussex County and out west from Route 78 to the Pennsylvania border.
Father Drury said he first became active in police chaplaincy with the Mendham Borough and Township departments in the early 1980s. He has been a full-time police Chaplain since he retired from active ministry as a diocesan priest.
When a Chaplains work with the Secret Service, they stay with one of the agents at an event for the entire time in case a situation arises. Father Drury had attended many political rallies and a speech of President Trump where he got to meet him.
“President Trump saw my priestly collar, came over and thanked me for my service,” he said.
With local or state police, Father Drury is sometimes called in to headquarters for a debriefing if an officer was involved in a shooting or witnessed a horrible auto accident, a violent crime, death of a child or a suicide.
“Chaplains need to gain the trust of officers, so they have the confidence to call them when something terrible happens. It’s an ecumenical position; we serve all people,” said Father Drury reading says,. Responsibilities also include accompanying officers in making death notifications, said Father Mike, who noted, “We help people get through difficult moments in their lives so they can get to the next. I am proud to be a chaplain.”
Even though Baby Mary and Baby Hope lived extremely short lives that did not allow them the opportunity to live and develop their own sense of purpose, and to matter to someone. They are making a difference to all who have come to know them thanks to Chaplain Father Michael Drury and the Mendham Township Police Department for the annual Christmas Eve service to honor and remember these two innocent children of God.
Fr. Mike believes Baby Mary and Baby Hope serve a purpose. “They are not throw-away babies, but they serve to illustrate that human life is so fragile.”
Mendham Police Chief Ross Johnson says, “We are finally able to bring closure to this case and for the community that supported her. If not for the hard work and dedication of our officers who have worked this case over the years, Baby Mary’s case would not have been solved.”

Morristown High School’s Monica Tate-Melendez
Named 2024 Counselor of the County

 By Jonathan Garrett
Monica Tate-Melendez, School Counselor at Morristown High School, was named 2024 Counselor of the County for Morris County by The New Jersey School Counselor Association (NJSCA) at the Association’s 38th annual Professional Recognition Awards Program. Held this year on March 15, 2024, the event celebrates the selection of one School Counselor from each of New Jersey’s counties. Counselors are nominated by their school colleagues, with final award decisions made by a NJSCA committee.
Ms. Tate-Melendez, a lifelong New Jersey resident, holds a BA in Anthropology and Puerto Rican Hispanic Caribbean Studies from
Rutgers University and an MA in Counseling with a concentration in School Counseling from Montclair State University. She reports being “absolutely” surprised by the award, noting that, “I was not aware that my colleague and mentor, Karen Wolf, nominated me for this award. Not only was I surprised, I was humbled that my contributions were being recognized.” She continues by lauding her colleagues and work environment at MHS: “I work with amazing people. Every day, I learn from their wisdom, insight, and take inspiration from their enthusiasm. I work in a collaborative environment which translates into the ability to grow my skills each year.”
According to Ms. Tate-Melendez, an award-winning counselor must “embody the values and ethics of the New Jersey School Counselor Association” and nominations are often prompted by counselors’ establishment of outstanding services or new initiatives. She cites that “I was nominated this year because I began a support program for first-generation college students called Be the First. A group of us collaborate on different topics shared in weekly workshops where the information is broken into bite-sized morsels. Our programs have included drop-in sessions to work on essays and college applications to clinics on summer programs, study skills, and even how to prepare for a college fair. We have brought in guest speakers such as Montclair State University as well as an Alumni panel of first-gen students. As well, I am one of the behind-the-scenes editors of Counselor Connections, which is the MHS School Counseling Department’s newsletter that is published five times a year. Lastly, I created a MHS Wellness page with resources for meditation and wellbeing.”
Born and raised in New Jersey, Ms. Tate-Melendez has lived in various parts of the Garden State but claims that her “heart resides in Morris and Essex Counties.” She says that “the diversity of our area translates into enriching relationships (and the best food!). Her interest in psychology emerged as a result of having been raised with the values giving back to her community. “Advocating for students aligns with this belief as well as my natural curiosity and my inclination to find solutions to problems.  Working with high school students is my favorite age group.  They are on the edge of adulthood with major decisions ahead of them, yet they possess imagination, curiosity, and the tenacity to change the world,” she notes.
As a School Counselor, Ms. Tate-Melendez attends numerous workshops throughout the year as well as endeavoring to visit colleges and universities. In the past year she has been taking classes with UCLA on College Admission Counseling in an effort to remain as current as possible within a changing world and in response to the need to stay in tune with the needs of students, their families and her own need to learn new skills. Asked about the most rewarding part of her work. Ms. Tate-Melendez says enthusiastically that “Th
e most rewarding part of my job is working with my students! At Morristown High School there are such great opportunities for students. Students at MHS do not sit back as they also create new and wonderful programs. It is by far too many to name, but I am always impressed by what they do. MHS students are also incredibly resilient as they do not permit obstacles to impede their progress.”
She notes being grateful for and
well supported by the colleagues in her department: “We are always learning from each other while infusing humor. In addition, the school teachers and educators are professionals, and it is not uncommon for a teacher to reach out to me to support a student. They care about the students and it shows in their interactions.” As far as challenges that she experiences, Ms. Tate-Melendez states that “Working in education, no two days are the same. As much as your education, workshops and collaboration with school colleagues prepare you, there is always an unexpected situation that will challenge you.
Regarding her aspirations, she hopes that the Be the First program continues to expand.  She sees this as possible because “We seek the feedback of our current members and utilize that to accommodate new workshops and clinics. It is a solid first year of the program; however, as a group we are always discussing how to grow the programs and more effectively deliver services. I am also working on another project that I hope to implement next year.”

Recalling Ryan Harrington’s wonderful wrestling career
By Steve Sears
Success is nothing new to former West Morris Mendham High School wrestler, Ryan Harrington.
Whether he was the grappler himself or is coaching them, Harrington believes in preparation, and he is a happy guy when that leads to a win.
“We had a good weekend with the Green Wave,” he said of the Delbarton School’s 2023 – 24 wrestling team, for whom he is in his third season as assistant coach. The club bested St. Joseph’s Regional of Montvale, 30 – 22 on February 12 to recapture the Non-Public Team Championship. 

Harrington said of coaching, “I see these guys as little brothers, and I think my job is to come in simplify things for them. Wrestling can get chaotic and complex, but sometimes you just have to get back to the fundamentals and make things simple.”
And again, for Harrington, who grew up in Chester, it was always about preparation. He said, “Honestly, it was just putting in the time. While you are warming up and telling yourself that you did every single thing you could, did not leave any stone unturned to try to accomplish a goal, that is when you really get the results. You are not thinking out there – you just let it fly.”
Harrington translated the above practice into an accomplished high school and collegiate career. During his four seasons as a West Morris Mendham Minutemen wrestler, Harrington had a won – loss record of 139 – 11, but during his junior and senior years, he went undefeated at 84 – 0. He followed that with a two-year, 49 – 10
record at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Harrington, 30, at West Morris Mendham was coached by Steven Baig.
“It was special,” he recalled of his high school years. “Constantly going to Friday night games and doing every match I could. Also, my brother being a senior when I came in as freshmen gave me a little extra edge to try to hang with the bigger guys.”
Harrington won the state championship at 160 pounds in 2011 and at 170 pounds in 2012, and after attending the University of North Carolina for one year, he sought a new school to wrestle for. Courtesy of the recommendation of his trainer, former Coe College All-American grappler, Shawn Hall, he contacted the Kohawks head coach, John Oostendorp, and in 2014 had a new mat home.
arrington wrestled collegiately as a sophomore and junior (injuries denied him his senior season). He was selected as an All-American both seasons, and during the latter campaign at 174 pounds won the Luther L. Hill Invitational Tournament. His 4 – 0 tourney record garnered him both Iowa Conference Male Athlete and Wrestler of the Week awards, and he graduated Coe College in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
After returning home to New Jersey, Harrington’s next step was as an assistant coach for three seasons at Pope John XXIII High School in Sparta, and then on to his current stint at Delbarton in Morristown.
Harrington said he owes his success to his coaches, friends, and family (his parents are William and Bernadette, and he is a sibling to one brother, Bill, and a sister, Kasey), but he also knows that the proper mindset plows the path.
He said, “You control your own destiny. No one is going to give you anything. But everything is right there for the taking if you want to work for it.”

 The Morris Music Men Go To The Movies with
“Lights, Camera, Harmony”
At 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 5, the Watchung Hills Performing Arts Center, 108 Stirling Rd. in Warren NJ, will ring with the exciting sounds of vocal harmony.
“Lights, Camera, Harmony” will treat you to some of the most memorable tunes featured in productions from the movies and Broadway, performed in four-part harmony by the Morris Music Men, Morris County’s premiere barbershop chorus.  Under the dynamic direction of Nate Barrett, himself an accomplished performer, arranger, director and concert musician, the show tunes will come to life and leave the audience cheering, laughing and clamoring for more.
Joining the Morris Music Men as very special guests will be director Sheila Jackson and the combined choir of the Newark Arts High School, an amazing group of teens who will thrill you with their irresistible combination of style, energy and vocal talent. This school has produced some of the most talented artists known to us today and there are several incredible voices in this year’s choir.
Tickets are $25 and are available in advance or at the door. A discounted price of $20 is available for purchases before April 22nd. To order, visit website “”. or call 877-808-8697, select option 2 and submit payment with a credit card.   To order by mail, send a self-addressed stamped envelope along with a check made payable to “Morris Music Men” and send it to Morris Music Men, PO Box 138, Morristown, NJ 07963.  To ensure ample time for processing and return mail, please be certain that all mail requests are postmarked no later than April 28th.
The Morris Music Men is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization and is the Morris County chapter of the International Barbershop Harmony Society.

Mark Your Calendar for Springfest, June 5th
What is Springfest, you ask?
If you are a foodie looking for amazing tastes from the surrounding area, we’ve got you covered.
We did the research, personally handpicked the culinary options and restaurants, and narrowed it down to give you the best of the best.
Needless to say, we are getting very excited to bring this event to you.  

Historic Rutherfurd Hall will be the picturesque backdrop to showcase these favorite hidden gems.  Explore all the delectable culinary options in this most elegant atmosphere, the heart of Warren County.  All this while listening to live music, sipping wine or sampling local beers & ales on June 5, 6:00pm to 8:00pm.
This evening has been created for you with the generous donations of many local individuals, restaurateurs, and local businesses.
This exclusive event is limited to 100 tickets which are on sale now.  Please join us
100% of the proceeds will go to support the F&N programs which include scholarships and financial support for various community and veteran’s organizations.
Restaurants participating so far…
The Black Forest Inn, Taste of Italy Ristorante, The Circle Restaurant, Arbor Bakery, Grand Avenue Tavern, Sweet Bites & Delights, Mama’s Cafe Baci, Fromage, Mattar’s Bistro, Starbucks, Pandan Room, Czig Meister Brewing Company, El Tucan, HarBee Beekeeping and Grape Expectations.
Tickets are $70 per person. Contact 973-222-8290.

Continuing Education in Her Field is Important for Former My Life Publications Editor
By Steve Sears
For former My Life Publications editor, Megan Roche, there have been many stories she has both edited and written, and a love for writing which is irreplaceable.
But then there is the additional thirst for knowledge and improvement, for her and for others.
Roche is now enrolled in the rigorous Modern Journalism program at New York University. The course, which Roche will take virtually, is comprised of six modules: Acts of Journalism Today; Journalistic Inquiry: Basic Investigating and Reporting; Storytelling the Truth: Longform and Feature Writing; Multimedia Storytelling; The Journalist and Social Media; and The Journalism Business and the Working Journalist. She started the course in March and hopes to complete it in August.
Roche said, “It is online, 100% virtual, and you do it as you have the time. I am excited to go back to the classroom and learn what has changed in journalism over the last 10 plus years that I have not been in a classroom.”
Since March of last year, Roche – who now lives in Virginia and is a DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Williamsburg Chapter “Outstanding Media and PR Professional of the Year” award recipient, has been a full-time writer for Williamsburg Yorktown (WY) Daily, a daily online publication which covers Virginia’s Historic Triangle area of Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, communities located between the James and York rivers on the state’s southeastern coast.
“We cover all facets of the community,” Roche said of WYDaily. “I think the thing that is really important is – and it shows in my career – I am really steeped in community journalism.”
Roche, who is a graduate of West Morris Central High School in Long Valley, started her writing career in Denville, and eventually served as editor of My Life Publications from December 2018 until March 2023. While with My Life Publications, she developed popular, monthly feature articles like “NJ Starz” and “Glory Days” while overseeing a staff of 10 writers.
One of WYDaily’s goals this year is to get more involved in educating students in what Roche and her colleagues do and how, and that is
along the lines of the education she values.
Roche explained. “
I think that is important. I always try to ask during my own interviews of people that I talk to for a piece of advice or some idea for the younger generation and the up-and-coming journalists. The biggest thing is do not be fooled thinking that this is all glamour all the time. It is not. It is work and hard work at that. You need to have a strong backbone in this career, and you need to
know that not everybody is going to agree with you. You have to be okay with that and you have to let that roll off your shoulders.”
In her heart, writing has always been
the real deal, and Roche cannot see herself doing anything else.
Roche said, “The love for writing specifically has never gone away. I think when you are a journalist, you
have to be innately curious about so many different things. And one of the things that I have learned more than anything is sometimes if you need an idea for a story, you just jump in your car and you drive around you say, ‘What is that?’ ‘What is going on?’ Or ‘What is this event?’ and you find things. I think the other thing that has not changed is my desire to go after things that may necessarily be bigger than whatever publication I was working for at the time.”

The Origin of Mother’s Day              
By Henry M. Holden
Mother’s Day, a holiday honoring motherhood was created by an American, Anna Jarvis, of West Virginia in 1908. It became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. While it is observed in different forms and different times throughout the world, Jarvis would later denounce the holiday’s over-the-top commercialization and spent a large part of her adult life trying to remove it from the calendar.
Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, But the strongest modern example for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.”
A major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, this celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church”—the main church in the vicinity of their home—for a special blessing or visiting the church in which one was baptized.
Mother’s Day in the United States dates to the 19th century. In the years before the Civil War, Jarvis helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children. These clubs later became a unifying force in a region of the country still divided over the Civil War. In 1868 Jarvis org
anized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.
One mother who has been praised and admonished is also another precursor to Mother’s Day. Her roots, came from the abolitionist and suffragette movement Julia Ward Howe. In 1870 Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” asking mothers to unite in promoting world peace. In 1873 Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” celebration every June 2.
While versions of Mother’s Day are celebrated worldwide, traditions vary depending on the country. In Thailand, for example, Mother’s Day is always celebrated in August on the birthday of the current queen mother, Sirikit.
Another alternate observance of Mother’s Day can be found in Ethiopia, where families gather each fall to sing songs and eat a large feast as part of Antrosht, a multi-day celebration honoring motherhood.
In the United States, Mother’s Day continues to be celebrated by presenting mothers and other women with gifts and flowers, and it has become one of the biggest holidays for consumer spending. Families also celebrate by “giving” mothers a day off from activities like cooking or other household chores.
At times, Mother’s Day has also been a date for launching political or feminist causes. In 1968 Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr., used Mother’s Day to host a march in support of underprivileged women and children.

In the 1970s women’s groups also used the holiday as a time to highlight the need for equal rights and access to childcare.
Mary Ball Washington was neither a villain nor a saint—but rather an exceptionally strong and resilient woman, a single mother who raised five children and instilled in them qualities of fortitude and purpose. She was independent in ways few other women were at the time, choosing not to remarry after her husband Augustine’s death and refusing to give up her property to a male relative as had been the custom.
By many accounts Mary Ball Washington, mother of George, our first president was a tough mother. After she was widowed, she didn’t have the money to send George or her other children to school in England, as was common for well-to-do Virginia families at the time. Instead, she enlisted George and his siblings to help run the farm. She emphasized obedience in her children. “She treated George seriously as a man and seriously as a religious being,” according to her biographer Martha Saxton (The Life of Mary Washington)
Prior historians once interpreted this as poor mothering, which contributed to Mary’s adverse standing in history. In fact, it was common of mothers at the time to be stern, even remote. “The fond mother, the mother who is psychologically and emotionally utterly available and has nothing but unconditional love for her children came about in the late 19th century,” Saxton says. “That’s not the kind of mother Mary was.”
Other early Mother’s Day pioneers include Juliet Calhoun Blakely, a temperance activist who inspired a local Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the 1870s. The duo of Mary Towles Sasseen and Frank Hering, meanwhile, both worked to organize a Mothers’ Day in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some even called Hering “the father of Mothers’ Day.”
Over time the Mothering Sunday tradition shifted into a more secular holiday, and children would present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation. This custom eventually faded in popularity before merging with the American Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s.
While dates and celebrations vary, Mother’s Day traditionally involves Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family or individual, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on different days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the month of May presenting moms with flowers, cards and other gifts.
In the United States, Mother’s Day 2024 falls on Sunday, May 12.


Love Floweth, From Heaven to Earth
By Richard Mabey Jr.
In June of 1970, I completed my junior year at Boonton High School. My family belonged to the Trailmates Chapter of the National Camping and Hikers Association. There were about 12 families that belonged to this group of family campers. The Landers family was one of the families who would go camping with all of us.
Penny Landers had just completed her sophomore year of high school. She was very smart, kind hearted and very pretty. During our time of family campouts, Penny and I would play chess together, on a picnic table at a vacant campsite, that we were always able to find, no matter what state park our families were camping at that particular weekend. Penny was an incredibly great chess player.
Inevitably, our conversations during our chess games would focus on books that we had recently read. At the time, I was totally absorbed into Thomas Wolfe’s novels. I was in the midst of reading, Look Homeward, Angel. To my surprise, Penny had already read the book. I think that was a turning point for me. Looking back, the moment that Penny had told me that she had read Look Homeward, Angel, was the very moment that I fell off the Grand Canyon, in love with Penny.
I was a very shy boy. I didn’t have much self confidence. I had a damaged Mitral Valve, so I couldn’t play sports. And in 1970, sports were everything at Boonton High School. I lost myself in poetry, novels and in playing the snare drum in the school marching band. I wanted all so much to ask Penny for a date, but I felt so strongly that I was way out of her league. I would think to myself, “what would a smart, pretty girl like Penny Lancaster, ever see in me?”
Although I never mentioned it to my father, Dad knew that I liked Penny a lot. It was during our annual week-long hike of the Appalachian Trail that Dad talked to me about Penny. It was now July of 1970, we pitched camp somewhere in the forest of Eastern Pennsylvania. Dad and I were alone together, outside of our makeshift tents, cooking stew. And Dad told me, in no uncertain terms, that I had to stop putting myself down. That I had to dig deep within myself and get the courage to ask Penny for a date.
Well, at the next campout of the Trailmates Chapter, I found myself playing chess with Penny. Somehow and someway, I managed to get the courage to ask Penny for a day. My palms were filled with sweat. M
y heart was beating like a big, old bass drum. I inwardly trembled, after the words came out of my mouth. There was that two second pause from Penny. Then, her response came, quietly, almost shyly, “yea, that’d be nice.”
I was 16, Penny was 15, when we had our first date. Mom drove me to Penny’s house in Paterson. Penny’s father was a bit strict with her. And, rightfully so. It was a Saturday afternoon. We watched a movie in Penny’s living room, sitting together on the couch, while Mr. Lancaster sat in his easy chair.
Then we went out to Penny’s backyard. Penny had this game setup in her yard, it was like horse shoes, they called it Ring Toss. Instead of playing with horse shoes, you would toss this circular rope at the stakes, to try to get the ring onto them. It was a fun time.
Then we ate supper. Mrs. Landers was very kind to me. I can’t say that Mr. Landers made me feel all that welcome. His eldest daughter was coming of age and having a boy over for an official date. I don’t think that settled too well with him.
Penny and I dated for two years, through my senior year at Boonton High and my freshman year at County College of Morris. In September of 1972, Penny left for Rutgers University. We had promised to stay faithful to each other. Sometimes the most earnest of promises get broken. Sadly, we drifted apart.
We stayed friends till Penny’s passing in November of 2012. Sadly, Penny lost her battle with lung cancer. Although all traces of romance had evaporated, a kind of kinship still lived in our hearts for each other. We became adopted cousins to each other.
I would write email letters of encouragement to Penny, during her time of her fight with cancer. She would write me back that she dearly appreciated my kindness.
I know that this may not coincide with the religious beliefs of many people. But since I was diagnosed with Severe Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, I have had many, many visitations from Penny. I’ll be working on a story and I’ll feel Penny’s presence, powerfully strong beside my desk. Almost every night, Penny visits me in dreams, so real and vivid that it seems like it’s all so real and not just a dream. Penny assures me that there is a God and a place we call Heaven.
Can God be limited? Can God be put into a box, of our liking? Is it possible that a dear and cherished friend, residing in Heaven, can become a guiding angel? I know what I experience is powerfully real. Spiritual love, not a romantic love, but a true spiritual love between two people cannot be limited, be boxed in.
Love is the most powerful force in the universe. It is the foundation of miracles. It knows no limitations. Love is the most endearing force known to mankind. Truly, it is the foundation of miracles.

Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He hosts a YouTube Channel titled, “Richard Mabey Presents.” Richard most recently published a book of poetry and short stories. He can be reached at

New Jersey Small Business Manual Now Available 
The New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC)today announced the availability of the New Jersey Small Business Manual, a publication that provides information and guidance on establishing, maintaining, and expanding a small business. NJBAC, a division of the Department of State, worked in collaboration with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), the Office of Innovation, and other community-based partners to create a resource to help small businesses grow and thrive in New Jersey.
The manual includes information about state and local permits and inspections, financial assistance programs, lease contracts, commercial real estate transactions, and a variety of other topics related to owning and operating a small business. It is available online for download at
“The small business sector is crucial to our state’s economy,” said Lieutenant Governor Tahesha Way. “Hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans are contributing to our statewide prosperity every day.  We understand the value of investing in tools and resources, like the New Jersey Small Business Manual, for business owners and entrepreneurs because the return is high. When our small business community thrives, we all do.”
“The content of the New Jersey Small Business Manual represents the most common queries and requests for assistance we receive from the small business community,” said Melanie Willoughby, Executive Director of NJBAC.  “By compiling the information in a digestible, easy-to-use publication, we are ensuring access to essential information that is designed to make life easier for entrepreneurs and business owners. The manual was truly a collaborative effort across several state agencies.”
The New Jersey Small Business Manual was established pursuant to P.L.2023, c.27. Pursuant to the law, the manual will be reviewed and updated periodically.
About the New Jersey Business Action Center
The New Jersey Business Action Center serves as the State’s liaison to the business community, offering free information, services, and resources across various areas such as business registration, financial programs, regulatory compliance, property selection, workforce training, and more. NJBAC, a division of the Department of State, comprises multiple offices, including Business Advocacy, Export Promotion, Small Business Advocacy, State Planning, and the Cannabis Training Academy.  Access to NJBAC services is available through NJ DOS - NJ Business Action Center or - or by calling 1-800-JERSEY-7.  

Love Dogs?
Open your heart and home to help save their lives.  Fostering is a great opportunity to make a real difference in a dog’s life!
By providing a temporary home, you are giving that dog another chance at life that they otherwise would not have had. FHDR will be there every step of the way, providing you with training and support to have a successful fostering experience. You can foster a puppy, young dog or an adult dog, it’s your choice. It’s fun to have a furry friend around the home! Fostering can be only a couple weeks to a couple months. Your puppy will be listed on my Petfinder website, FHDR website and other adoption websites.
FHDR cannot save dogs without your help! So please join our efforts!  Contact us at or complete the Foster Application by going to! We look forward to talking to you!

100 Years Ago This Month: Historical events from May 2024
The month of May has been home to many historical events over the years. Here’s a look at some that helped to shape the world in May 1924. • Iodized salt is introduced in the United States on May 1. Iodized salt is now used in table salt across the globe, and its introduction to the U.S. is credited to Canadian-born pediatrician David Murray Cowie, who ultimately persuaded various salt retailers to utilize iodized salt to combat health problems, including goiters, that were linked to existing salts. • Russian aviator and schoolteacher Zinaida Kokorina makes her first solo flight on May 3. Kokorina is the first woman pilot in military history. • Erich Ludendorff is elected to the Reichstag in Germany on May 4. Ludendorff ran under the banner of the National Socialist Freedom Movement, which was standing in for the banned Nazi Party. • Sophie Lyons is murdered in Detroit on May 8 at age 75. Lyons was a notorious criminal in the post-American Civil War era, but abandoned her criminal life and spent her later years supporting causes related to the rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents. On the day of her death, Lyons allowed three men into her home, likely hoping to rehabilitate them. However, the men refused her help, ransacked her home and killed her. • George Buchanan introduces a home rule bill for Scotland in the British House of Commons on May 9. The ensuing debate becomes a shouting match, and the session is ultimately adjourned. • On May 10, 29-year-old lawyer J. Edgar Hoover becomes Acting Director of the Bureau of Investigation, which would eventually become the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Hoover would remain in the post until his death from a heart attack in 1972. • Prohibition ends in Alberta, Canada, on May 12 when two government-owned liquor stores open in the province. • Former Ontario treasurer Peter Smith and financier Aemilius Jarvis are arrested on May 13. Each man is charged with theft and conspiracy to defraud the provincial government in what became known as the Ontario Bond Scandal. Smith and Jarvis are ultimately acquitted of theft and fraud, but both are found guilty of conspiracy. • On May 14, a committee of the Methodist church recommends that the church never again participate in any type of warfare. The committee, convened in Massachusetts, votes 76 to 37 in favor of the church never engaging in warfare under any type of circumstances, including self-defense. • Chinese Foreign Minister Wellington Koo survives an assassination attempt on May 15. A package containing a bomb and addressed to Koo is delivered to his home, but a servant opens the package and is killed. • The wooden roller coaster The Giant Dipper opens at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on May 17. In July 2012, the park celebrated the 60 millionth rider to ride The Giant Dipper, which is now a National Historic Landmark. • On May 19, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company uses telephone lines to transmit images for the first time. Over a two-hour period, the firm transmits 15 photographs from its office in Cleveland to company headquarters in New York City. • Fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks is kidnapped on May 21 in Chicago. Franks’s parents receive a ransom note demanding $10,000 on May 22, but the boy’s body is discovered near Wolf Lake before any money is paid.  Nathan Leopold, Jr. and Richard Loeb confess to the murder on May 31. • A nine-day conference that becomes a power struggle between Soviet Communist Party leaders Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky opens in Moscow on May 23. The Thirteenth Congress of the Communist Party is the first conference since the death of First Secretary Vladimir Lenin roughly five months earlier. • Beulah Annan is acquitted of murder in Chicago on May 25. Annan shot and killed her lover Harry Kalstedt, and her ultimately sensationalized trial ended in acquittal when it was determined she acted in self-defense. The story eventually inspired the play “Chicago,” which has since been adapted into films as well. • The Battle of Turubah is fought on May 26 between the Kingdom of Hejaz and the Sultanate of Nejd. The battle would ultimately determine the fate of the region that would become Saudi Arabia. • The United States Border Patrol is created on May 28 to prevent illegal entry into the United States from Mexico and Canada. • A munitions depot explodes in Bucharest on May 29. The explosion shakes the city, causes damage to the royal palace and claims the lives of many. • Italian politician Giacomo Matteotti is shouted down as he protests the outcome of the previous month’s election during a speech at the Chamber of Deputies on May 30. Matteotti claims the Fascist Party employed intimidation tactics to win the election. The 39-year-old socialist leader is kidnapped and murdered by the Fascists’ secret police 11 days after delivering his speech.

Motor Madness on May 26th in Hackettstown
By Elsie Walker
On May 26th is an event offering a day of fun for the whole family while helping local charities:   Memorial Motor Madness. Now in its 28th year, this car show is put on rain or shine by the Hackettstown Rotary and held on the grounds of Mars Wrigley at 800 High Street in Hackettstown.   Gates open to cars at 7:30am and opens to spectators at 9am;  the event runs to 3pm.   Admission is $5. (Children under 12 get in free when accompanied by an adult.)  Recently, rotary members James Travis (chairperson of the car show) and Norm Worth talked about the event.
The show’s “founding fathers”, Ed Hagaman and Larry Middleton, ran it for the first few years; then, about 24 years ago, the Hackettstown Rotary took on the show.  Worth noted that is a great event for family and friends, and you can see three generations ( children, parents, and grandparents) enjoying it.   The show is sponsored by the John Johnson Auto Group, Warren Community College, WRNJ, and Mars Wrigley. Proceeds benefit The Joan Knechel Cancer Center at Hackettstown plus a variety of local charities supported by the rotary.  Speaking of the rotary, it is all hands on deck for the event. “Virtually all 25 members of the Hackettstown Rotary (which is comprised 70% of women) will be actively engaged in making the Memorial Motor Madness Car Show a success,” shared Worth.
Car pre-registration is $20 per car and the day of the show registration is $25.  The first 400 to register get a dash plate.  Travis noted that the show usually has about 500 cars on display. There is a wide variety of vehicles which in the past have included monster trucks and antique food trucks. Worth noted that there’s always something special, “something exotic”.   Last year, one of those “something special” was a chalk car that people could help decorate with colored chalk which was provided.  There are 21 classes in the show which start with antiques to 1940 and run up to current models. Trophies are given in every class plus a larg
er Ed Hagaman Memorial Trophy for Best in Show, named for the late Ed Hagaman.
“Music is a big part of the show, “ noted Worth.  That music is provided by Chris Schmidt of S.C.3. Entertainment and Doc South. Music includes what Travis described as “Happy Days” type of music and more recent offerings.   Also, Doc South has a tradition during which those in attendance are reminded of the meaning of the upcoming Memorial Day.  At noon on the day of the show, Doc South asks for a moment of silence; then, the National Anthem is played.   This is followed by a “rev-up”, the cars’ loud tribute to our fallen soldiers. Doc South also takes donations for phone cards to be given to soldiers to help them stay in touch with loved ones.
Besides the vehicles on display, there will be food trucks and vendors selling miscellaneous items. It was noted that no smoking or animals are allowed on the Mars Wrigley grounds.
In talking about the venue and its importance, Worth said, “[We’re] so grateful for Mars Wrigley. Without them, there is no car show.”
For car pre-registration forms, vendor registration information, and information about the Hackettstown Rotary, its upcoming events, and charity work, visit the Hackettstown Rotary website at


My Last Hike On The Appalachian Trail

By Richard Mabey Jr.
In late June of 1996, I hiked the Appalachian Trail for the last time. I did not know it at the time, t
hat it would be my last time hiking this wonderful and magnificent wooded trail. The late Reverend Fred Herwaldt and I took the boys, who had just finished a rigorous one-year term of both religious studies and hard working service to their church in their pursuit to earn the coveted God and Country Award.
My dad, Reverend Herwaldt and myself had led the weekly God and Country Award classes at the First Reformed Church of Lincoln Park. This very special award is a combined effort of Boy Scouts of America and the Reformed Church of America. There is a scouting religious award for just about every faith known to mankind.
The boys earnestly studied and worked hard on service projects for their church. From raking leaves to cleaning windows to repairing the binding on hymnals, the boys learned the practical side of serving their church. But aside from hard work, the boys had completed a rigorous academic study of the Holy Bible. Written tests on Bible knowledge are given to the boys, usually once a month, in the course of the year-long study.
In June of 1996, I was 42. My dad was now 68. Dad was fighting a bout with prostate cancer, so it was not possible for him to hike the Appalachian Trail. Reverend Herwaldt knew that I earned Eagle Scout and had served as an Assistant Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 170 for many years, so he appointed me to be the leader of the pack.
The stretch of the Appalachian Trail, that traverses New Jersey, is 72 miles in length. However, during our one-day hike, we hiked a little over 20 miles. We left the First Reformed Church in Lincoln Park at 6:00, that morning. One of the boy’s father drove us to our starting point near the New York State and New Jersey border.
Along the hike, I had the honor of reviewing with the boys, how to identify the different species of trees. I pointed out natural, edible plants. Along our hike, we saw all so many different birds. I brought my Boy Sco
ut Handbook in my backpack, and used it as a reference, while the boys successfully identified the various species of birds. Squirrels abounded, climbing the oak, the maple and the elm. We stood still and remained quiet as we watched a group of deer walk through the forest. All in all, it was a most wonderful and memorable day.
We all had brought sandwiches that we packed in our backpacks. There is something to be said for eating lunch, sitting upon a big rock, beneath the umbrella of majestic trees. The warmth of the golden sun, gentle breezes, birds singing in the trees, and squirrels seemingly flying from tree limb to limb. I remember, all so very well, that Reverend Herwaldt read a few Palms to the boys. It was a most heart warming moment in time.
As we hiked the wild and wonderful Appalachian Trail of New Jersey, I felt the shadow of my father. I was just 11 years old, when I first hiked the AT. Now, over 30 years had passed. I was no longer the Tenderfoot Scout, walking beside my father. I was now the responsible leader. Ever watchful for snakes that might plunge upon one of the boys.
It was only a day hike. But I think we all came away from that special day, a little more aware of God’s beauty in nature. And soon the boys would all be honored with the presentation of their hard-earned God and Country medals, at a church service. This was the completion of a special, year-long endeavor the boys had undertaken.
I was immensely proud of the boys, who hiked all those miles in just one day. I think we had finished out hike at about 8:00 that night. We had cooked a group supper along the trail, consisting of beef stew and buttered hard rolls. There was a genuine spirit of good fellowship that prevailed.
I had no idea at the time, that this would be the last time that I would hike the AT. Now, at 70, with a serious heart condition, I am resigned to return to the dear old Appalachian Trail in memory only. If your healthy and in fairly good shape, please do consider hiking the Appalachian Trail. If only to go for a full-day hike. There is an endearing quality to the trail that will move your heart and give you a deeper appreciation of God’s breath-taking creations in nature.     

Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He hosts a YouTube Channel titled, “Richard Mabey Presents.” Richard most recently published a book of poetry and short stories. He can be reached at

Exploring Titanic
By Henr y M, Holden

The RMS Titanic, a luxury steamship, sank on its maiden voyage, in the early hours of April 15, 1912. It sank off the coast of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic after running into an iceberg. Of the 2,240 passengers and crew on board, more than 1,500 lost their lives. The Titanic disaster has inspired many books, news articles and films (including the 1997 Titanic movie starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio). Today, the ship’s story has entered public awareness as a cautionary tale about the perils of human overconfidence.
One person who has had a long and personal attachment to the ill-fated ocean liner is Charles Haas (Charlie) a retired Randolph High School educator of English and journalism.’ One thing Haas did not do was sit around wondering what to do after retirement.

Haas retired from his educator’s job in 2006 and decided to pursue his dream to explore  Titanic twice in 1993 and 1996.
Charles Haas was born in New York,  and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J , and a Master’s degree from William Paterson University, in Wayne, N.J. He was named Morris County Teacher of the Year in 1990, and listed four times in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers..
Haas’ interest in ships was sparked by his grandfather, who worked in the management of a New York stevedoring company. He introduced Charlie to ocean liners through the windows of his office, which overlooked New York Harbor. His grandfather also loaned him a copy of A Night to Remember, thus beginning a lifelong interest in the Titanic.
In high school and college, Haas studied microfilm of newspapers’ coverage of the Titanic disaster. His interests are in the ship’s features, exploration of the wreck, the state of the wreck and artifacts.
Hass is a co-founder of Titanic International Society (TIS) and a longtime trustee. He served as editor of their journal, Voyage, until the group was founded in 2006, when he became president of TIS.
A lifetime highlight for Haas was making two dives to the Titanic wreck in 1993 and 1996. Haas narrated the program “Titanic: Untold Stories,” and was a member of the 1998 expedition to the wreck, and contributed to the design of artifact exhibits through 2000.
He was a featured speaker on the 2012 Titanic Memorial Cruise, and has appeared in numerous television documentaries. With co-author John P. Eaton, he has written five books: Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy, Titanic: Destination Disaster; Titanic, The Exhibition; Titanic: A Journey Through Time; and Falling Star: Misadventures of White Star Line Ships.
When asked what his first thoughts upon reaching the ship  he said, ”My first reaction was the surprise of the immensity of it. It was over two-and-a half football fields.
“Photos of the ship don’t convey the immensity of it,” Haas said.  “We were following the debris field in the submersible until we got to the actual ship. My first impression was oh my God, the size of it.
As we explored the ship another set of emotions came into play all pulling each other. Remember, we were looking at a ship that had nine decks and was 882 feet from stem to sten. It was a unique reaction or a set of reactions at the same time. There was sadness remembering the passengers who lost their lives.  I treasure that memory even though so many people perished. I also felt tremendous pride that I was the world’s first teacher to go down to the wreck.
“On the first trip I had a severe case of nerves because I had been told about the pressures on a submersible’s hull. I came very close to saying I did not want to make a dive.
“My writing partner, John Ethan said basically that I was being given an opportunity that not many people had.”
His trepidation must have been obvious to the crew. One of the crew said to me “we want to see our families again too.” So, when the second dive came, I felt much more confident about the whole process because of the strong adherence to checking things and being safe.
“On the second dive, I had a commission from the Discovery Channel to narrate a tour of the Titanic.
“I took them on a virtual guided tour of the ship relating to them what I know happened. Though it was a very different feeling. I cherish those
Haas began studying Titanic as a 12-year-old and if someone had said to him “you’re going to make a dive to the Titanic” I would’ve said he was crazy.
There were artifacts outside the ship that could be removed, and the Navy had a system that could interact with transponders. This interacted with the submersible’s navigation system permitted each artifact to be identified and cataloged its exact location. It recorded latitude, and longitude. A record of where the artifact came from was created.
On my first trip I was told that the pressure on the submersible would be about 6,000 pounds per square inch. Just me and the two crewmembers were in a 7-foot-wide titanium sphere which was part of the submersible which is about 22 feet long. It wasn’t long before we began feeling water on our feet and head.
“I was immediately alarmed. What was happening?” One of the crew said we had lunch in 85° temperature on a surface but the water down at the Titanic site is only about 28°. As a result, there was water on the top and inside surface of the crew’s sphere, it was kind of like a private drizzle. By the. End of the day, several gallons of water were sloshing around on the floor. What was happening was the water vapor in our breath was condensing.
It was very chilly down there and I had five layers of clothing on so I could deal with the temperature changes. The warm Gulf Stream was mixing with the Newfoundland current.
“On the way down what struck me was that sunlight only penetrated about 250 feet down and then, for the remainder of the dive, we did it in total darkness. The only way you could tell if you were descending by looking at the digital depth reader. When we finally reached the bottom, the crew turned on all the exterior and interior lights. We had made the trip without lights to save the batteries. I remember hearing that if we got stuck for some reason under the water, the batteries would last for about four days.
Haas can relate information about the icebrg and put it in perspective.
“The iceberg was a medium size one about 70 or 80 feet tall, and had recently turned over so that, instead of it, being a brilliant white color, it was a blueish color because of all the blue light waves water it had absorbed. It was also in an area where there was a slight haze, and that was the result of the Gulfstream and Newfoundland’s current mixing.
When the lookout in the crow’s nest spotted of the iceberg, he called the bridge, and the deck officer ordered a hard over rudder turn and full speed astern turn. The hard over began to turn the ship slowly because of the size of the ship.
After about 37 seconds the ship was beginning to turn to the left when there was a very gentle rumbling on the ship’s starboard side. In the space of about 30 seconds an underwater spur on the iceberg punctured a series of small holes below the water line.  “On the 1996 trip, we were able to look at the starboard side using special U.S. Navy sonar equipment. We discovered.  the holes were not gigantic: They were small, (totaled area about 12 square feet} but there were several dozen of them, small enough so you could not stick your thumb through them. Plus, there were several rivets scraped off. Six watertight sections that were breached by the scraping of the rivets.”
The death toll varied greatly de
pending on location. The higher death toll for the third-class passengers, was the result of actual physical barriers put in place to separate first- and second-class passengers from the third-class steerage passengers who would have to undergo a customs inspection when they arrived in New York. First and second-class passengers did not need to undergo this inspection, according to the rules of the day.
In addition, there were no lifeboat requirements. There were only 1,178 lifeboat seats available for 2,240 passengers and one seat for each passenger was not required by British law. Witnesses reported that some lifeboats left with empty seats.
The Titanic’s damage was minor in one sense of the word where there were a few small tears that one could not put a thumb through, the tears extended for one-third of the ship and resulted in seawater pouring into the otherwise watertight compartments.
Communication was also a problem. There were 20 nationalities on board, and there was no public announcement system available.
At the time the number of lifeboats were not mandated and no lifeboat drill for the passengers took place. The crew had one abandon ship exercise.
When the abandon ship order was given, it was ignored at first then became a disorganized, haphazard and uncontrolled evacuation. The boats on the port side of the ship allowed only women and children to board. On the starboard side men were allowed to board the lifeboats if there were no women waiting for a seat.

There were only lifeboat seats available for about 1/3 of the passengers, and they were not required by British law.
The majority of dead were crew members and third-class passengers, there were roughly 2,200 passengers but there  were only  712 survivors and approximately 1,500 dead.
While the trip down took eight hours, in just 2-hours-40 minutes the world’s finest luxury liner was gone forever. Immediately after the tragic sinking the United States and Great Brittian  held hearings to assess blame, The outcome was clear. Regulations regarding mandating enough; passenger seating was enacted, and better communications between ship and shore were established.

NJ Starz: Don Casey
Hometown: Collingswood, New Jersey

By Steve Sears
Don Casey, soon-to-be 87 years old in June, never played much varsity basketball in his youth, but coaching became and was his forte.
In fact, Casey coached basketball as either an assistant or head coach on the high school, collegiate, and professional level for almost 40 years.
Casey was the youngest high school coach in the country when Bishop Eustace Preparatory School of Pennsauken Township hired him back in 1959. He would eventually be at the helm for both the San Diego Clippers and New Jersey Nets of the National Basketball Association for a year and a half each in the 1990s.
And the lone son of Larry and Mae Casey, who was born on June 17, 1937 in Collingswood, is in very good health. Casey said, “I work out, not feverishly, and the jogging has turned into long walks with the husky dog for an hour, three times a week. And that keeps you moving, which helps.”
If you desire good health, talk to Don Casey. Yours truly – the writer of this article – who will soon be a 28-year heart attack survivor – was on the fielding end of some very sensible questions. “What is your HDL & LDL?” Casey asked me. I disclosed the numbers, and when I told him the details of my workout program and how sporadic I am with my regimen, he said, “You have to get a regular routine going.”
Ever the coach, ever the caring individual. So much so that, post-coaching, he dedicated himself to health care for many. More to come on this.
Casey, who now lives on the west coast, fondly recalled his Camden County hometown. “Collingswood was a nice competitive town of about 18,000 with its own high school. But I went to Catholic school, and the high school for me was Camden Catholic.”
Casey’s mom was a telephone operator, and his dad a writer. He said, “He worked in the political arena for papers in Camden, and I know he worked hard for Governor (Alfred E.) Driscoll to be a governor, and he worked on the (Dwight) Eisenhower campaign. We lived on a street called Wesley Avenue. It was a dead-end street and with 18 rowhouses on it, and it was a street where everybody knew each other.”
Casey played intramural basketball for the Camden Catholic basketball team in the 1950s, and as senior was invited to try out for the basketball team. He made the varsity squad, but due to the fact he had not played
freshman of junior varsity basketball, was primarily a practice player. He said, “The team was okay. It was not as good as Camden Catholic teams in the past, but it was a very good experience in that regard, just being with the team.”
Nearby Temple University was up next for Casey. He attended as a part-time student, and then in 1959 learned through a friend that Bishop Eustace Prep was looking for a junior varsity coach. He accepted the job, but after the varsity coach left, Casey next season had his first head coaching role.
Casey, age 21 at the time, was the youngest high school coach in the United States, and his Crusaders won state titles in 1961 and 1962. He said, “I had the good fortune to be introduced to Jack McCloskey, who was at Penn, Harry Litwak, who was at Temple, and Jack Ramsay, who was at St. Joe’s. The influence of each one of those three was how I developed the game.”
Casey in 1966 would eventually become Litwak’s first, full-time assistant coach at Temple, and it would lead to an eight-year head coaching stint.
During his first season at the helm, the Owls won 16 games, and then finished below .500 in the next two campaigns. The team turned the corner in
his final six seasons. During that time, the Owls won 119 games and lost just 48, were three-time Men’s East Coast Conference champions, won one conference tournament title, made an appearance in the 1979 NCAA Tournament, competed in three National Invitation Tournaments, and finished in the Top 20 twice. His overall record as Owls’ head coach was 151 – 94, and he was inducted into the Temple Hall of Fame in 2018.
For Casey, the south Jersey\Philadelphia area was home, but he next ascended the coaching ladder to the National Basketball Association. In 1982, he headed to the National Basketball Association’s Chicago Bulls to be head coach Paul Westhead’s assistant. He was with the Bulls for just one season before moving on to the San Diego Clippers to serve as an assistant again, this time for head coach, Don Chaney. When the club moved to Los Angeles for the 1984–1985 season, Casey went overseas and coached Scavolini Pesaro in Pesaro, Italy. He returned to the United States in 1985 to rejoin Chaney and the Clippers and remained an assistant during legendary head coach Gene Shue’s tenure until 1989. When Shue was fired, Casey took over for a half a season, and then coached a full season in 1989-90.

His next stop was the Boston Celtics, where he served as an assistant to both Chris Ford and M.L. Carr. Casey said, “We had Larry Bird, Keving McHale, and Robert Parrish at their last stages, but they still could play.”
Casey remained with the Celtics until 1996, when he returned to the Garden State and was hired as John Calipari’s assistant with the New Jersey Nets. In his second season with the team, the Nets went to the playoffs but were swept by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. The following year was a lockout year, when the team started 3 – 17, and Calipari was let go.
Casey recalled, “I was very much involved. Behind the scenes I was a Senior Vice-President of the NBA Coaches Association, representing the assistant coaches.”
Like his Clipper days with Shue, Casey was again thrust into the head coaching seat for half a season in 1999, and for a full ledger during the 1999-2000 season. His Nets went 31 – 51, and Casey was replaced by Byron Scott.
After lowering the curtain on his coaching career, Casey served as Vice-Chairman of the President’s Council for Physical Fitness, serving with Tom McMillan, Jackie Joyner Kersey, and others. And Casey, who lost his mom to Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) in 1969, also has been a strong advocate for 55 years in the fight against the disease.
Casey, who has served on both New York and San Diego ALS Association chapter boards and served as a member of both ALS Association National Board of Directors as a Trustee, said, “It (ALS) hits two groups. It is the only disease associated with being a veteran. If you are a veteran, you are two and half times more likely in your lifetime to get ALS. The second group is football, the NFL. It is a high number of former players that are coming down with it – concussions are a precursor to ALS – and they are under the scope of Boston Brain Institute.”
Casey is also an author of two books, The Temple of Zones, and (with Ralph Pim) Own the Zone: Executing and Attacking Zone Defenses. Both offerings focus on the effectiveness of zone defense in any level of basketball competition.

 Explore the Dynamics of Public Safety Careers at CCM’s Criminal Justice Day

County College of Morris (CCM) is proud to announce its third annual Criminal Justice Day, to be held on Wednesday, May 8, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This up-close look at the inner workings of public safety and law enforcement will feature interactive demonstrations, displays and presentations by professionals from federal, state and local units. The college encourages high school and college students and their families to attend this free event to gain hands-on knowledge about the different units in the criminal justice system.

During the event, students will have the opportunity to try a firearms simulator, take fingerprints and observe a mock crime scene. In addition, representatives from the New Jersey State Police Mounted Unit, Emergency Services, Cold Water Rescue and more will be present to foster a deeper understanding of their respective fields. A helicopter landing, mini-submarine and jet ski will provide additional excitement to the day’s agenda.   

According to Randolph High School teacher Justin Matyas, “Criminal Justice Day at CCM is an amazing opportunity for students and the community to meet the men and women of law enforcement and to see what consists in their day-to-day operations. The networking that it enables is invaluable to students. The fact that CCM sponsors it creates a pathway for high school students to enter the field via a college degree.” 

CCM offers over 100 areas of study, including degree and certificate programs in criminal justice, justice studies and legal studies, with on-campus, hybrid and online formats available. Students who apply to CCM that day will have the $30 application fee waived.

Don’t miss this unparalleled opportunity to delve into the world of public safety and law enforcement. Interested participants are encouraged to pre-register at

For more information, please contact Dr. Maureen Kazaba, Professor of Criminal Justice at or 973-902-7803.


What Families Can Do to
Honor Fallen Veterans

The freedoms people living in the United States are afforded would not have been possible to provide if not for the brave efforts and undying commitment of the many individuals who have served in the nation’s armed forces. American military personnel have played vital roles in securing freedoms for their fellow citizens as well as individuals overseas.
Each year on the final Monday in May, the United States commemorates military personnel who lost their lives while serving in the armed forces. Those individuals made the ultimate sacrifice, and Memorial Day is a way to honor them and thank their families for their selfless acts. This Memorial Day, families can embrace various measures to honor fallen veterans.
• Visit a local veterans cemetery. The United Service Organization (USO) notes that most states have national veterans cemeteries. Though some veterans cemeteries are open only to family members of service personnel, others are open to the general public. Visiting a veterans cemetery is a great way to honor fallen military members and ensure the memory of their service and sacrifice is not forgotten on Memorial Day.

• Celebrate veterans over Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day weekend is now synonymous with getaways and backyard barbecues. By taking time out during the weekend to honor fallen veterans, families can ensure the meaning behind the holiday is not lost in the midst of celebrations with family and friends. Take time out during a family barbecue to discuss a family member who served or, if traveling, make an effort to visit a veterans memorial along your travel route.
• Help raise funds for veterans organizations. Fun runs or community Memorial Day walks may benefit local veterans organizations that help service members in need. Many service members may need help dealing with the deaths of friends or family members who died while serving in the armed forces, and veterans organizations may provide such help or direct funds to groups that do. That makes pa
rticipation in events that benefit veterans organizations a great way to honor current military personnel and those who have served in the past, including those who died in service of their country.
• Teach youngsters about the role of the armed forces. There’s a lot competing for the attention of today’s young people, and that can
make it easy to overlook the very freedoms that make the United States such a unique country throughout world history. Parents and guardians can emphasize the role the armed forces play in procuring and protecting freedoms in the United States and emphasize the significance of the sacrifices of those who gave their lives to ensure a higher quality of life for all U.S. residents.
Memorial Day commemorates military personnel who died while serving in the armed forces. There is much families can do to ensure those sacrifices are never forgotten or taken for granted.

It’s Time to Think BIG About Fall and Enroll Now at CCM
Starting today, registration for the Fall Semester at County College of Morris (CCM) is open and tuition will not increase. The college is pleased to announce that there is no increase in tuition for the 2024 – 2025 academic year, allowing students to pursue their education with less debt.  

Classes for the Fall 15 Week Semester begin on August 29. The college is also offering two shorter sessions that run for 7 weeks each. Classes for the Early Start 7 Week begin on August 29, while the Late Start 7 Week classes begin on October 24. Students are encouraged to start their application for admission early, to provide them with time to explore the many programs offered and to help them secure the courses that best fit their schedules.
CCM, which is one of the nation’s top ranked community colleges, offers over 100 associate degree, certificate and professional development programs. Programs are offered in various formats to meet students’ preferences, including in-person learning on CCM’s campus, a hybrid format and a co
mpletely virtual experience. Many programs can be completed in a matter of weeks and a degree can be obtained in two years or less.  For those not seeking a degree program, CCM’s Center for Workforce Development enables students to learn cutting-edge skills and boost their marketability in an ever-changing job market. 
By not increasing tuition, CCM is honoring its commitment to providing an affordable education, enabling many students to earn a certificate, degree or gain industry education with minimal to no debt.  Students are then equipped with the education needed to excel forward in their professional journey and earn big.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form has been redesigned for 2024-25, creating concerns for students and families as there are potential delays in processing FAFSA data on the part of the U.S. Department of Education. In light of the delays, CCM is encouraging students to complete their FAFSA as early as possible and to anticipate a longer waiting period before the status of their financial aid eligibility is determined. Understanding that this could affect enrollment decisions for students, CCM’s Office of Financial Aid is readily available to assist students.
CCM was ranked Best Community College in New Jersey by Best Accredited Colleges. Intelligent included the college in its list of the Top 5 Best Community Colleges in the state, as well as Best for Transfer Students in the state. Other accolades include CCM being ranked #1 in New Jersey for Best Associate Degrees and in the Top 1.8 percent of the Best Community Colleges nationwide by Intelligent.
In addition to outstanding learning facilities, which include state-of-the-art labs and studios, CCM offers over 50 co-curricular clubs and Div. II/III athletic programs for students to be a part of. A wide range of support services are also offered to help students succeed, including career guidance, tutoring, funding to help with childcare assistance, a food pantry and scholarships and grants to help with the cost of college. To see if you qualify to attend CCM tuition free through the Community College Opportunity Grant, visit
For additional information about the Fall Semester, visit  To apply for in-person, hybrid and virtual for-credit programs, visit To view and register for non-credit certificate and apprenticeship programs, visit 




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.