Town cleanup supporters recognized by Council

WEST MILFORD. The annual town beautification effort takes a lot of volunteers and local support.

| 20 Jul 2022 | 10:48

When the Township of West Milford roadside cleanups are held each year — followed by a big picnic at Bubbling Springs Municipal Park for the volunteers — there naturally are costs involved. Always dependable to help are three donors who supply food for the picnic and help in countless other ways, Recycling Coordinator Dave Stires told the Township of West Milford Council at a recent meeting.

The West Milford Economic Development Commission (EDC) members felt it was time to publicly recognize, thank and honor these donors. Those honored were ShopRite of West Milford; Flags and Ribbons LLC, owned by Andy Abdul in Hewitt, and BPO Elks Lodge 2236, where Ken Hensley is the exalted ruler.

Stires, who has been on this job for 16 years, praised the volunteers who come out to clean up the township roadsides every year — and the donors who support the program. He said the result of cleaning roadsides and other places on Beautification Days benefits everyone. Stires said there is amazing group effort and a lot of behind-the-scenes work that people do not get to hear about. A clean welcoming community will encourage people to patronize local businesses and help the township provide an inviting atmosphere for both residents and people who want to visit here, he said.

With Hensley to represent the Elks Lodge were Esteemed Leading Knight Councilman Kevin Goodsir, Senior Trustee Councilman Dave Marsden, Chaplin Todd Soltesz and Ken Brand. The lodge members were actively involved in the cleanup projects for the past six years. In his second term as Elks exalted ruler, Hensley said he is very proud to serve the community. He noted that the local lodge has been in existence 60 years and members continue to take pride in taking care of community needs. He said the Elks building on Union Valley Road is open to the public and he invited people “to come and see us.”

Abdul thanked EDC Chair JoAnn Blom and Stires for recognizing the volunteers and cooperating businesspeople in the community. In business locally for 35 years, when was young, he was an eagle scout and led a scout troop with participation in the town cleanup an important part of the scouts’ programs. Early on he wondered why trash and recyclables were collected in the same container and he said he was successful in sharing that concern with officials – resulting in their decision to do separation pick-ups.

The EDC will continue its effort to honor and spotlight those exhibiting outstanding volunteer efforts.