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More Thanks

by Russell Swanson, Exec. Dir., VDID, Main Street Vineland

It’s the beginning of a new year and we have some exciting events and projects in store, but I didn’t have a chance to finish my “thank you’s” from last year before the holiday hiatus hit. So’ I’m going to wrap that up now.

The late Yogi Berra—that great icon of baseball and butchered English—once said at a testimonial dinner, “I want to thank everyone who made this evening necessary.” Well, for the second part of my round of acknowledgements and shoutouts for the past year, I want to cite some people who have been necessary to the operation of Main Street Vineland.

To surround yourself with dedicated, talented people is a key to making an organization move forward smoothly and I’m blessed to have such people as my partners and associates.

Let’s start with the Main Street Vineland staff. To have an Associate Director like Robert Scarpa makes this organization run like a well-oiled machine. I’ve known Robert for years, he served on our Board of Directors at one time, and he’s a hard, aggressive, and thorough worker. Many of our events come together because of his tenacity, persistence, and attention to detail. He is also our Business Development Director and chairs our Economic Vitality Team. I couldn’t ask for a better colleague.

I also thank Robin Barbetti, whose experience in our office and skill in grant writing have been valuable assets over the years.

I wish to thank our Board of Directors, who play such a large part in approving programs and initiatives that chart the course of Main Street Vineland. They are Chair Brian Lankin, Vice-Chair Dennis Ingraldi, City Council Liaison Paul Spinelli, Edgar Calderon, Macleod Carré, Richard Dixon, Lizzy Kennedy, Hernando Perez, Caleb Soto, and Board Solicitor Jeff Medio. They all deserve my sincere thank you. Edgar, Hernando, and Caleb are leaving the Board, as their terms are up and we look forward to bringing aboard new people to fill their shoes.

To keep The Ave looking clean and attractive is a full-time job in itself, and Bob DeMarchi and Hector Perez have helped in innumerable ways as our maintenance staff—out on the street, at our events, and in many other ways.

I also want to thank all of the special people and organizations who chaired events, sponsored events, and went beyond the call of duty to help us do some pretty marvelous things, despite all the challenges that the year brought. It would take another two columns to include everyone, but you are all in my thoughts.

Flipping the page of the calendar quickly, we have our quarterly meeting of our four teams this month on Thursdays, at 12 noon at the Main Street Vineland office, 603 E. Landis Avenue. The Organization Team met this past week, the Design Team meets on the 13th, the Promotions Team on the 20th, and the Economic Vitality Team on the 27th. Come—or, if you want to be part of the meetings virtually, let us know and we can connect you through Zoom.

As I said, we have some exciting things come up, about which you’ll be reading and hearing about a lot more and we’ll be hard and work laying the groundwork at our team meetings.

May it be a happy, healthier, successful year for Main Street Vineland—The Ave—in 2022. n

On the Ave