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Mayor and Council
50 Kings Road
Madison, NJ 07940 (map)
Welcome Mayor Holden and families, friends and residents of Madison.
Thank you to Reverend Robb Shoaf for your invocation and for Harmonium for the beautiful rendition of our National Anthem.
We are sorry that Ray Codey is not here as he is home recovering from a fall on the ice. We all wish him a speedy recovery.
Welcome Pat Rowe, as you shift from the Board of Education to Borough Council. You have already been working closely with us over the years, so you are now ready to dive into the work of the Council.
Rob Catalanello, congratulations as you start your second term on the Council.
Welcome back to our returning Council members, Bob Landrigan and Carmela Vitale, Astri Baillie and Ben Wolkowitz.
Today marks the mid-point of my four-year term as Mayor, don’t worry there is no half time show planned, just a few remarks as we enter the new year.
Many of you have heard from me on how honored I am to serve as your Mayor, Madison is a special place and while continue to serve as your Mayor I will never forget that I am just a part of a team that makes Madison a great place.
Over the past two years, I have recognized several extraordinary heroes. Extraordinary heroes are not just in the right place at the right time, they are the right person in the right place and the right time. A few moments ago we recognized Gerard Raho for his heroic effort in saving a woman who had fallen on the railroad tracks.
Other award recipients included a hero who pulled a rabid fox off a young woman, a hero who saved a family who was on the second floor of a home that had just been shaken by a gas explosion, we recognized heroes in our Fire and Police Departments who saved a woman from her apartment, in a building fully engulfed in flames. The award was also presented to someone for their heroics over an extended time. This was for Councilman Landrigan’s effort for the Borough, before, during and after Super Storm Sandy. And as I talk of recognition, we cannot forget the men and women in the armed forces, extraordinary heroes that put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we enjoy.
We don’t know what we would have done if we were the person at that right time, would we jump on the tracks, climb a ladder, given endless hours of volunteer work? What we do know is that catastrophes were avoided or lives may have been saved and Madison is a better place because of these extraordinary heroes, who were the right person at the right time. While we may never have the opportunity to be an extraordinary hero we can be everyday heroes.
Last night as we welcomed in the New Year, Fire Fighter Kyle Wickman sounded the horn in honor of everyday heroes, our first responders; fire fighters, police officers, ambulance volunteers. Look around the room; we are surrounded by everyday heroes, those who give of their time in many different ways; our council members, committee and board members who volunteer for Madison. We just recognized two volunteers for over five years of service, there are many others who have given five, ten or twenty or more years of service as a volunteer, as a Madison everyday hero.
We have so many everyday heroes around us; we tend to take them for granted. Forty-eight hours from now, we may or may not be shoveling out from the first winter storm of 2014 but we know now that our Public Works Department is ready to put in long hours to clear the roads.
We have heroes sitting on our Chief Executive Council for Madison, CEOs who gave of their time over the past year, helping restore a fellow community devastated by Sandy and also working to create our leaders of tomorrow.
Some everyday heroes are created by how they approach their job or life’s challenges. Examples are in two of Madison’s finest who we lost last year. Lt. Anthony DeVincenzo succumbed to cancer last year, we all knew him as Zeke. He was an everyday hero in his love for the street beat. At his corner, Waverly and Main, he greeted all with a smile, representing Madison at its best. We also lost Lt. Vincent Carey. Vince was retired for decades but was an everyday hero in his love and respect for his fellow Madison officers. The last time I saw Vince was at Sergeant Keymer’s retirement. Lt. Carey, at the age of 93 and failing health made sure he was here to congratulate John Keymer. Vince loved Madison, he loved his police force.
2014 marks the 125th anniversary of the incorporation of the Borough of Madison. In 1889, everyday heroes decided it was time to break away from Chatham Township. In 2014 we have everyday heroes working to do more with our neighbors. Today we officially take on a fifth town in our Joint Court; today our Building Construction Office expands to be the construction office for the Borough of Madison and the Borough of Chatham. As we celebrate 125 years as an independent town we are leading the way with shared services because of the heroes in Borough Hall, who don’t say “we can’t take on more” but do ask “what more can we do with others?.”
There are the behind the scenes heroes, such as the staff of Project Community Pride. For over forty years, Community Pride has been working with teens and families in crisis. Who knows how many they have saved or how many future everyday heroes they created over those years. Now we have a group of heroes working to ensure that Community Pride will continue their valuable work for years to come.
Look in our schools, community groups, service clubs, our neighborhoods, local businesses and our shops and you will realize that we are surrounded by everyday heroes.
Again not many of us will have the opportunity to be an extraordinary hero but most of us can be an everyday hero and all of us can thank a hero. Let us make 2014 the year of the hero.
To our room full of heroes, I thank you and wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year.
Robert H. Conley - Mayor
January 1, 2014