Just in time for the new school year, the Borough Elementary School in Morris Plains is the next school in line to get its grounds cleaned up by a beautification and safety initiative.
Volunteers with the “One Day One School” award-winning program will make its way over to the Borough School on Sat., Oct. 10, to beautify the property and make sure its grounds are safe to all. The innovative program focuses the efforts of volunteer business owners, public and school officials, and students to beautify school property and enhance safety.
Tom “Ace” Gallagher, founder of the nationally recognized One Day One School program, and Superintendent Mark Maire of the Morris Plains School District are excited for this next school clean up. Organizers are working with school community members, inviting as many volunteers as possible to support the Borough School event.
“The entire initiative is based on encouraging students to come out to participate and take ownership of their schools,” Gallagher says. “It provides a way to give back to the community to provide our students and our community a school that is safe, beautiful and a place we can be proud of.”
Morris Plain Superintendent Mark Maire says, “This is an incredible service to our facilities, and we thank Mr. Tom “Ace” Gallagher, founder of One Day/One School, for selecting Morris Plains. We are thrilled to host an event that brings local municipalities and school community stakeholders together to promote beautification, safety and environmental awareness.”
The idea for One Day/One School hit Gallagher- owner of Whippany’s Ace Gallagher Stump Grinding- while walking his children to school in 2007. Glancing up, he was alarmed by dead branches threatening to fall from the tree canopy. Recognizing the danger to school children, he contacted the district’s superintendent and offered to donate his professional tree care services and enlist volunteers from the industry and community to make the school path safe.
He proposed organizing this project as a one-day event to clean up the grounds of the school, remove debris, trim trees and do landscaping. Given the high cost, specialized skill, and safety considerations associated with tree maintenance, the school district welcomed the opportunity and joined the partnership for the one-day event.
From that project, One Day/One School moved each year to a different location and
grew to more than 200 volunteers working hand-in-hand with school and municipal officials.
Gallagher and Maire will join planning teams from East Hanover, Hanover Township and Morris Plains, who have maximized resources across multiple municipalities to support this beautification program. This planning team will include the mayor, chief of police, school administration, HSA members, rotarians, Knights of Columbus and others.
The award-winning program brings together tree experts, school officials, town representatives, local companies and students who volunteer their time and services to make their community school grounds cleaner and safer.
The program’s objective involves one day of volunteer teamwork at one school to
remove dangerous tree limbs and landscape school grounds.
Since its inception in 2008, the initiative has collectively saved Hanover and East Hanover
townships, Florham Park Borough and Denville taxpayers more than a half a million dollars in tree work and landscaping.
Gallagher, a former Board of Education member and a present committeeman in Hanover Twp. says, “Every time you can save a district a thousand dollars, that’s a computer. If you save $60,000, that’s a new teacher.”
When Morris Plains Mayor Frank Druetzler heard about the award-winning program, he felt it could be a success in Morris Plains. He introduced the idea to Maire, who was thrilled with the
potential benefits of the program.
Druetzler states, “One Day One School is truly a ‘shared services’ program that is a great benefit to our local schools and communities.”
Druetzler and Councilwoman Suzanne McCluskey have been working with the
leaders of those other towns, along with Maire, to bring similar results for the Borough School grounds.
The Oct. 10 event at Borough School will be dedicated to Ralph Politi Jr., a well-known East Hanover community leader who was struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver in 2012. Since the development of One Day One School, Politi dedicated his services to provide a beautification aspect to the program.
Many of the area’s best tree companies and landscaping services are on board once again, and they remain committed to making this day successful. The organizers are quick to identify the grass-roots, voluntary nature of the program as the central key to its ongoing success.
Start time for tree services and other professionals is 8:30 a.m. with area tree care partners and landscapers donating their time, equipment, and services to prune and remove dangerous trees and branches. At 9:30 a.m., students, families and volunteer crews will assist professionals in a complete cleanup of the area, followed by the planting of new trees and shrubs. The day’s events will conclude with a DJ and barbecue for all participants at 12:30 p.m., with food contributed by local businesses and prepared and served by Morris Plains Rotary Club volunteers.
Gallagher concludes, “We are inviting everyone to become part of this network of volunteers that are giving back to the community; and of course any support you can give would be greatly appreciated.”
If interested in volunteering for this event, visit “One Day One School” on Facebook for more information. Contact Gallagher at 973-428-1102; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or the superintendent’s office at 973-538-1650. Additional information is available through the Morris Plains school administrative offices. Rain date is set for Sat., Oct. 17.