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Mayor and Council

Robert H. Conley, Mayor
(973) 593-3038
Hartley Dodge Memorial Building
50 Kings Road
Madison, NJ 07940 (map)

Community House Rededication


Rededication of the Madison Community House (owned and operated by the GFWC Thursday Morning Club, of Madison, N.J.)

While I am here today as Mayor of Madison, and it is an honor to serve as your community leader, ( and those that join me today, Council President Jeannie Tsukamoto, the Community House’s council liaison Dr. Vincent Esposito, Councilman Robert Conley, and former Councilman Peter R. Flemming, Sr.)  --   I find that of lesser importance than the more impressive fact and honor of my life as having been President of this Club.  Believe me.  Nothing could have better prepared me for my current task than having been President of this wonderful organization:  Women of distinction and achievement.

Look at the rostrum of presidents that this Club has had.  They are ordinary women who have all accomplished extraordinary things.  Those accomplishments have occurred only because of the hard work, camaraderie and down-right fun (Isn’t that right, people who misappropriate wire shoes at convention and pirates?  And you know who you are.) --  that these women enjoy – fund-raising year-round to keep this 85-year old establishment current and relevant to the community and invent solutions – like Friends of the Library; a Health department; Kindergarten in the schools; an Adult Day Care Center – and all within an organization whose relevance has adapted throughout its 113-year history; always remaining true to its core mission, “Ich Dien.”  “I Serve.”

Special Commendations must go to :  Patty Driscoll, nursery school. Dorothy O’Connor, BASCC program.   Janet Allocco, who knows about big shoes to fill when George Burroughs died suddenly, and Suzanne Caccavale,  who together coordinate the 67,000 people who walk through these doors each year.  Carolyn Stiner, the current President, who is in the last-lap of her term as President.  I know I’ve been there.  Just when you’re hitting your stride and gotten the job down pat, it’s two years over in a flash.  Each member however is a cog in the wheel that makes this Club the finest, and I believe still the largest, in the State.

I’m proud to say “we” are a remarkable group of women.  Can’t is not part of our philosophy.  President Obama has nothing on us.  We’ve always proven, “Yes, we can.” 

Today is the proof in the pudding.  That recipe includes two individuals in particular…. Bernie Grohol and Olga Soriano.  Each have been President of the Club and Chair of the Community House Board.  When she’s not shooting baskets in this gym, Bernie is writing grants and out pitching for funding for this project.   And my true hero in the celebration we partake in today is Olga Soriano.  Both are amazing Club members and women.

But, imagine the shoes I had to fill when I followed Olga into the presidency.  She turned over a well-oiled machine and I gasped.  But she was always there to advise me, give me the “guideposts” to success and continued to serve overseeing the building of the rear storage area, the interactive playground, kitchen remodeling, and if that wasn’t enough, the re-design, demolition and reconstruction of this magnificent house.  Those who are here today, former and current Council members know, we’d love to have Olga on our team to oversee the rehab of Borough Hall.  Her skillful and patient demeanor with suppliers, contractors, the DEP and Borough officials was extraordinary.

Please applaud these two remarkable women – Bernadette Grohol and Olga Soriano. 

While we revere the monetary gifts of Mary B. Cash, Nellie Lenox Rose, and Mary Elizabeth Carlsen – thankfully, they have each helped financially in their bequest to aid this Club to continue to fulfill “Ich Dien.”  

Let us not forget club member Eleanor Van De Water, whose father gave the swampy dirt upon which this House is built; nor Ellen Pettit and Inga Rockefeller who tangled with each other all for the good of the “Rose” wing; and now today, Bernie Grohol and Olga Soriano.  I’m sure there are many more today.  Let’s be sure we chronicle each’s participation in this process. 

Our Club’s history is long and strong in Madison.  May this be only one of many past and future, fabulous “We-will-do” achievements for the GFWC Thursday Morning Club and the community.

                                                                                            --  Mary-Anna Holden

                                                                                                Mayor of Madison, NJ

                                                                                                January 25, 2009