At this rate, Craig Dawson may never have to buy another T-shirt in his life.
The stalwart volunteer can be found at every Block Party and Lake Loop, sporting the latest in Lake Hopatcong Foundation apparel, earned only by those who dedicate their time and energy to help make the events a success.
“I enjoy helping friends,” Craig said, “and what I like most about volunteering [for the Lake Hopatcong Foundation] is the people. It’s always a great crew.”
Craig may seem like a bit of a mystery man at the iconic outdoor LHF events, even though he invariably shows up before sunrise and stays until the last tables and chairs have been broken down. That’s likely because he typically spends most of his time on the far edge of the action,—specifically, in the parking lot.
The 53-year-old Hopatcong resident maintains order as motorists maneuver their vehicles in and out of Hopatcong State Park. He moves cones and barriers like chess pieces on the pavement, flagging drivers hither and yon, as space and safety dictate.
More than just directing cars, Craig has helped Block Party organizers design the complex layout of vendor booths areas to best facilitate bringing them in for set up and moving them out at the end of the day. He considers that the most engaging part of his Block Party work, but also his greatest challenge.
“I first met Craig at a Lake Loop, when he was in charge of parking and more,” recalled Lee Moreau, co-planner of the Block Party. “He was superb at making order out of chaos, so we ‘enlisted him.’ He anticipates problems, so by the time we figure what has to be done, he’s usually already working to resolve them.”
Craig grew up in Wayne and attended Wayne Hills High School. He’s now part of his family’s general contracting business, Dawson’s Construction Unlimited, L.L.C. A lifelong bachelor, he bought property on Kisling Avenue in Hopatcong in 2003 and built a house there, moving in by 2005.
When he’s not working, you might find him with a camera in hand, enjoying his current hobby of photography. Predictably, Craig spends much of his free time on the lake and is into skiing, snowmobiling, and golf. He considers woodworking his passion and is accomplished at building furniture.
Craig’s first foray into volunteering for the LHF came several years ago at a Lake Loop. He later answered the call for help at the annual Block Party and has been adding volunteer T-shirts to his wardrobe ever since.
“Craig is a great guy who works well in a team setting,” Lee said. “He’s just the complete package and a tremendous addition to the Lake Hopatcong Foundation volunteer corps.”
Lee also noted that Craig has a great sense of humor, and exhibits grace under pressure.
Those are both excellent qualities to possess when dealing so heavily with people in parking lots who often just want to go, well … wherever they want to go.
“From the beginning, the Lake Hopatcong Foundation seemed like an organization that has the best interest of the lake and the community in mind,” Craig said. “It’s always good to be able to give back by volunteering for them.”