Today is President’s Day. 44 men have served their country as the chief guardian of the nation (Grover Cleveland was elected twice in non-consecutive terms). One of them was called John F. Kennedy.
Last Thursday, Roselle Park recognized John F. Kennedy.
Not the one on the half dollar, but the one who – through his continuous volunteerism in various capacities – asked not what Roselle Park could do for him but what he could do for Roselle Park.
“It’s always a great honor as mayor and along with council here,” said Mayor Carl Hokanson at the February 16th meeting, “to have somebody that does outstanding service for this great borough of ours. Tonight, Councilman Petrosky would like to honor – along with us on council – a very good friend and a true Parker, Mr. John Kennedy.”
John along with his wife and daughter approached the dais. Second Ward Councilman and fellow coach Joseph Petrosky spoke about his friend, “I wanted to honor John for his many years of service to the Roselle Park Youth Baseball & Softball League. John was a coach and he did me a big favor by taking the scheduling job over, which I had done for a few years, which was a big help to me. He was also the girl’s tournament director, many jobs, basketball, and I didn’t know you coached football.”
“That’s how I started,” said John.
Councilman Petrosky continued, “You will be missed… John will also be honored on opening day [at the] Little League parade which will be the 22nd of April. Like the mayor said there’s many whereases but we all know what you did John and we do appreciate all that was done.”
Mayor Hokanson reviewed the proclamation, highlighting John’s many achievements including being a member as well as a Grand Knight of the Monsignor Joseph Loreti Council #3240 Knights of Columbus. John has co-chaired or directed outreach programs such as trunk-or-treat and the Superstorm Sandy relief shelter as well as various fundraisers. He is also a parishoner of the Church of the Assumption and has been the operating manager for the annual St. Anthony’s Feast.
Mayor Hokanson told those in attendance, including Mr. Kennedy’s fellow coach and friend Gary Bundy, “John exemplifies service to the community.”
The mayor thanked John’s wife Linda and their daughter, saying, “Thank you and your daughter for allowing him to do so much. Your sacrifice is also noted. We appreciate it.”
John was greted by a round of applause and then commented on the recognition, “I moved here 19 years and started to get involved in volunteering. It wasn’t really hard because I had some very good examples. Particularly, these two guys here – Carl and Joe and Gary [Bundy] for sure out there. It was just as rewarding for me to be involved in the camaraderies and getting together.”
John also thanked his wife for all the time she has given to allow him to help the community.
He concluded by saying, “Just in closing, anybody watching, especially young parents, [if] you have young kids and they’re going to get involved in activities? Get involved. Help out. Volunteer. I assure you your children when they get older they will always remember you were always there to help so thank you very much.”