Hopatcong Seniors of the Year for 2021 - Linda Smith and John Armeno

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Credit where Credit is Due:

 The Mayor of Hopatcong, Michael Francis was in attendance and before the festivities thanked the many that are involved, such as Cathy Millian, Recreation Coordinator, and her team that did another phenomenal job of making sure this was another memorable year for the seniors. As they thanked the cooking staff, volunteer cooks, and other people involved, you gained an understanding of the teamwork that goes into this event.  

Additionally, Cathy Millian worked with local businesses for donations and used the existing cooking staff including her husband Steve Millian as the BBQ Cook to make sure the entire picnic was not at a cost to the taxpayers. Also, in attendance were Lorraine Hentz from the Sussex County Division of Senior Services that help deliver weekday meals to over 70 Seniors daily.

Video of the Awards Presentation:

Hopatcong Senior Woman of The Year 2021 – Linda Smith

                               Linda Smith grew up in Clifton, at the age of 15 she met the love of her life, Paul. They were married on Sept 4, 1960, and started their life together in Dover and later moved to Parsippany, they then moved to Hopatcong in 1972 with their 3 children. Over the years they fostered many children, which lead to the adoption of one of those children, a son. Linda and Paul are also the proud Grandparents of 4 Grandchildren and 2 Great-Grandchildren.

Linda has a great love of animals. She loves dogs and is the owner of 3 rescue dogs and 2 cats, however, Linda is afraid of big dogs! Whenever there was a strange dog outside Linda would often send her oldest daughter out to see if the dog was friendly or not before going outside herself.

Many times, when her foster children would bring home animals, one foster child bought home a white feeder mouse, the child went back home, but the mouse stayed! Her daughter bought home a dog and she wound up with puppies, the same happened when someone brought home a Ginny-Pig or the time a child brought home two sex rabbits that kept having Babies!!

Linda worked for Renetco ShopRite for 36 years where she had many positions, such as; working in the floral department, as a cashier, non-foods, helped set-up the shop-at-home service, among many other tasks as needed. After retirement, she went back to ShopRite to help with the Young Consumers Program. Linda volunteered on the Hopatcong Ambulance squad and was a member of the Woman’s club.

When Linda is not taking care of her family Linda devotes time to the Hopatcong Seniors Inc., which she joined in 2005 and became an active member. Linda’s dedication to the Hopatcong Seniors has been most valuable. She is a positive asset to the Club, serving as President for 2 years, Vice-President for 2 Years, and currently a Trustee. Linda was Chairperson of the Trip Committee for 7 years, she worked countless hours organizing trips, making sure the contracts were signed, buses were ordered, collecting money, contacting chub members reminding them of trips, paying bills, working with the Recreation Director coordinating dates and other town officials, making sure the trips ran smoothly.

Linda did all of this with a smile, concern, and consideration for all of our seniors. Her dedication to the Seniors doesn't stop there she takes time out of her busy schedule to give rides to those in need of a ride such as to doctor appointments, hospital meetings, club parties, or just a ride home. She also takes upon herself to provide exceptional support and visits seniors at the hospital or at home to bring some comfort and hospitality Linda calls individuals if she hasn't heard from them to make sure they are doing well, especially if she knows they are alone.

Linda is a caring, hard worker and is always willing and ready to help others, she is dedicated to the Seniors or anyone who needs help. Linda projects a warm, cheerful attitude to all our Seniors.

Respectfully Submitted,

Michelle McCroy & Marie McQueen

Hopatcong Senior Male of The Year 2021 – John Armeno

                               Upon John's return from a four-year tour in the U.S, Army, he began a distinguished career with the East Orange Police Department where he spent 29 years retiring with the rank of Captain. Not satisfied to just retire, he began a second career with the Sussex County Sheriff's Department and spent nineteen years as Undersheriff. Currently, John is the Executive Director of N.J. Sheriffs Association. He holds seats on both the National Sheriffs Association and the Constitutional Officers of N.J.

Locally, John has always been civic-minded, he knew he could do much more for his community of Hopatcong and as such ran and was elected to the Hopatcong Borough Council where he served our town honorably for twenty-four years.

While on the Council he served on the Planning Board; Zoning Board; Recreation Commission and liaison to the Board of Education. He also sat on a number of committees on the county level representing the citizens of Hopatcong. You will always find John either participating or supporting the various parades; ceremonies; fundraisers; charity hikes; etc. throughout our community. He is a member and past President of the Hopatcong Republican Club. The time that John has spent serving our town goes to show how proud he is of Hopatcong.

On a family level, he has been married to his wife Dorothy for the past 53 years, and together they raised three girls, Debbie, Diana, and Dawn. They have two Grandsons, Devin and Hunter. When John’s children became involved in sports, he quickly became a Little League Coach, and also coached Track and Soccer, and was a member of the Soccer Board as well. He supported his girls during their Girl Scout years and has been known to help other Dads to plan hikes and set up and break down tents. John was one of the founding members of the Hopatcong High School Band Parents Association, where he held several offices and helped to bring attention to the school’s wonderful music program.

John's love of his community also carries over to his Christian upbringing. John has been a member of St. Jude's Church since 1975, where he immediately got involved in the parish. Over the years John has been a member of the Holy Name Society, The Men's Club and volunteered to be one of our Cantors. He also worked as a lector; an usher and a counter for our collections, He also organized several fundraisers such as the circus and carnival over the years. He also taught in the confirmation and religious education programs helping the young children of our parish and community.

Respectfully Submitted,

Henry O. Schmidt

Pictures from the Event:

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