The Lake Hopatcong Foundation hosted a traditional beefsteak dinner Saturday, Nov. 3, at the St. Jude Parish Hall in Hopatcong. The event was a fundraiser for the LHF as well as a gathering to honor LHF volunteers.
“As a small organization, we’re limited as to what we can do without paying more people,” said Marty Kane, chairman of the LHF Board of Directors. “Volunteers allow us to take on so many things associated with the lake, and they put their heart into everything they do. Without them, we could only do a small fraction of what we do.”
The dinner was held on the evening of the same day that an estimated 400 volunteers ventured out along the shoreline of the drawn-down lake to remove trash that had collected since the last drawdown five years ago. The LHF partnered with the Lake Hopatcong Commission to organize and promote the lake-wide cleanup effort.
The beefsteak also featured a presentation of digital microscopes by Succasunna-based comapny Zarbeco. Guests could check out the technology that the LHF hopes to eventually have on the Floating Classroom, seeing all kinds of interesting critters in high definition without having to squint through a microscope cylinder.
While all LHF volunteers were paid tribute during a program prior to the meal, one person was singled out for special recognition. Ron Kraus has been extensively involved in the train station restoration project since the outset and, besides being touted by the LHF for his volunteer efforts, was presented with a citation from the office of State Sen. Anthony R. Bucco.
“I could tell that people were making sure I came tonight, but it was still a surprise,” said Kraus, at the end of the evening. “I thought I’d be mentioned along with other volunteers, but I didn’t think I’d be a ‘grand prize winner.’
“When [the LHF] bought the train station five years ago, Marty asked me to help out as the project manager for the restoration, but I’m more like a technical advisor now,” he added. “It doesn’t seem to me that I do as much as people think I do. but the Foundation always makes me feel like I’m making a significant contribution.
An actual grand prize winner at the dinner was Bob Parise, who lives in Sparta, but recently bought a home on the lake. One of the five 50/50 raffle tickets be purchased was the first drawn of nearly 300 sold, resulting in a payout of $1,160. About 175 people, many of them who had volunteered at the cleanup earlier in the day, supported the LHF by attending the dinner.
“We’d like people to consider volunteering because there’s something for everyone and they can be part of protecting a place that means so much to so many,” said LHF President Jess Murphy.” It’s fun, too. There are friends to be made, skills to learn and new places to explore, all while giving back to the community and the environment.”
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