Larry Orlans may have had a successful career as a dentist, but getting him to volunteer for the Lake Hopatcong Foundation certainly hasn’t been like pulling teeth. Whenever called upon, he knows the drill.
OK, now that we have a couple dentist puns out of the way (no other profession seems to lend itself to gag lines quite as easily), let’s get serious.
The 77-year-old Lake Hopatcong aficionado, together with his wife, Mary, were among the founding members of the LHF a handful of years ago, but his history at the lake reaches back to his adolescence.
“My relationship with Lake Hopatcong started with a picnic at Hopatcong State Park when I was 16,” Larry recalled. “I didn’t return until I was married, with young children, and was invited for day trips by friends who had a summer home on Byram Cove. We all fell in love with the lake.”
The love was real. He bought a summer home on the cove in 1986 and, in an effort to downsize following his retirement in 2005, moved in on a year-round basis. Even now, if you’re looking for him, chances are he’s on the lake.
Larry graduated Weequahic High School in Newark and did his undergraduate studies at Rutgers before earning his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Temple University School of Dentistry.
He had been married to his wife, Mary, for 48 years before her passing just a few years ago. They had twin daughters, Allison and Michelle, who have made Larry a grandfather five times over.
His initial interaction with the LHF came when he was the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Vice Flotilla Commander of Flotilla 15-10, based on Lake Hopatcong. He played a large role in having the Auxiliary participate in the LHF Block Party, including setting up a boating safety display.
He remains very active as a member of the Auxiliary, serving as an instructor, teaching the USCG boating safety course, which is required to receive the N.J. Boating Safety Certificate. He also inspects vessels for issuance of the Coast Guard’s Safety Inspection Decal.
Since the motto of the USCG is “semper paratus,” or “always ready, it’s not surprising that Larry seems that way when it comes to stepping up for the LHF.
Besides his involvement with the Block Party, Larry uses his own boat and, with the assistance of others, sets out and retrieves the buoys that guide paddling participants in the LHF’s annual Lake Loop. He has also used his own boat to assist in summer courtesy patrols, assisting in spreading the word about the “Lake Hopatcong For All” guidelines, created to help keep busy areas of the lake safer for all users. On land, Larry has also wielded a shovel and rake to help with landscaping at the Lake Hopatcong Train Station in Landing, which will soon become home to the LHF offices.
When Larry isn’t volunteering, he enjoys boating, biking and pheasant hunting. On occasion, you might spot him on a warm summer day, pedaling his water bike on Byram Cove.
“What I like best about being an LHF volunteer is meeting and working alongside others who share both my love of the lake and the goals and missions of the Foundation,” said Larry. “I’m looking forward to the arrival of the floating classroom, and hope to participate in that program as well.”
That, of course, would bring a smile to our faces.