After almost two decades as Linwood’s recreation director, putting on parades, holiday events, summer camps, Miss Linwood contests and fairs, Patty Ogrodnek has decided to go in a new direction.
“I had a lot of fun over the years. I particularly loved the Easter egg hunt and the Memorial Day parade,” said the former Cub Scout and Girl Scout leader who was tapped for the part-time job after the previous recreation director Pat Guerrina was elected to town council in 1994. “I loved everything I did.”
Ogrodnek, a Linwood resident for 28 years, is still working on big events. But now, instead of handling all the details for old-fashioned events that emphasize the small-town character of Linwood, she’s working at Dress to Impress Bridal and Formal Boutique in Linwood’s Central Square. She helps families pick formal wear for weddings and other once-in-a-lifetime parties.
For the first time in many years, there was no country fair at Memorial Park this year, Ogrodnek said. The fair, which had a combination of live music, food, kiddie rides and booths where community groups could reach out to the community, usually happens in May.
But the city’s recreation board decided some time ago it didn’t want to do the fair anymore. That made her realize it was probably time for a new endeavor, she said.
Ogrodnek had helped former Councilman Bob Boileau re-start the fair about 20 years ago. Growing up in Linwood, he remembered it as an important community event, held in the mid-1900s at Central Methodist Church.
Linwood City Council recently passed a resolution honoring Ogrodnek for her service. She will miss all the activity, she said.
“I used to get things in my head that would wake me up at 4 o'clock in the morning,” she said of event ideas.
That’s how the idea came to her to move the city Christmas tree-lighting from the library to the Linwood Arboretum, she said, where there was enough room to have Santa’s pony-cart rides and ballet dancers performing “The Nutcracker,” with Santa set up in Belhaven School next door.
She organized that event as a volunteer, because her work months were April to November, she said.
Ogrodnek has two adult children and lives with husband Vernon, The Press of Atlantic City photo editor.
Ocean of Love
Rich McCleary, of Ocean City, the manager of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar in Manahawkin, Stafford Township, raised $2,420 May 3 for Ocean of Love, a charity based in Toms River that helps children with cancer, by running his first 100-mile ultra marathon. He’s hoping to increase that amount and donations can be made at active.com/donate/100oceanofloverun.
McCleary began his route at the Applebee’s in Clifton and finished at theManahawkin restaurant, making stops along the way at several other of the chain’s restaurants. Previously 135 lbs. overweight, McCleary lost weight through distance running and has been holding fundraising events for Ocean of Love for eight years, raising $22,450 in 2013, said a spokesperson.
Five students from the School of Business at Richard Stockton College were inducted into the New Jersey Collegiate Business Administration Association Honor Society on May 2 at the Statehouse in Trenton. They are Colin Kelly, of Absecon; Gianna Figurelli, of Manahawkin in Stafford Towsnhip; Patrick Menzies, of Forked River, Lacey Township; Jordan Tucker, of Barnegat Township; and Randy Weible, of Bellmawr.