Ocean City native Timothy Dugan once thought he’d find a job in music education after grad school.
On Wednesday, he played trombone at former President George H.W. Bush’s state funeral.
Services were held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. And the President’s Own Marine Band, which Gunnery Sgt. Dugan has been a part of since 2003, played a pivotal role.
“It was a pretty startlingly neat event,” he said. “With all the former presidents being there and all the people involved, it’s clearly a very historic, neat opportunity, and we’re lucky to be a part of it.”
Dugan, 40, was appointed the group’s assistant principal in 2017. The band’s main duties, Dugan said, include providing music for official ceremonies at the White House and funerals at Arlington National Cemetery.
He graduated from Ocean City High School in 1996 and from The College of New Jersey in Ewing, Mercer County, in 2000, with a degree in music education.
He later earned a master’s degree in music performance in 2003 from Indiana University in Bloomington.
“I just started playing music, as most kids do, in public school. … I really liked it, but I never thought of it as a career option until much later,” he said. “My undergraduate degree is in music education. … Then I just got the bug to work hard and practice and try to get a job playing trombone.”
The President’s Own has performed for the funerals of former presidents dating to the death of sixth President John Quincy Adams in 1848.
The band, according to its website, was founded in 1798, making it the oldest continuously active musical organization in the United States. Members average 200 appearances at the White House a year, performing a plethora of styles, from solo pianist to country to brass quintet.
Marine Band members, because of Bush’s relationship with the Corps, saw Wednesday’s service as distinct among presidential funerals.
“We have been fortunate to have had wonderful moments with every president we serve,” said Orchestra Director Col. Jason K. Fettig, “but President and Mrs. Bush’s gratitude for our Marines and for the special music we provide in The People’s House was especially warm and always engaging.”
Other New Jersey representatives reflected on Bush’s death. In a statement, Gov. Phil Murphy noted Bush’s leadership and personal warmth.
“A true American leader both at war and in peace, President Bush was kind, heroic, thoughtful and of the highest professional and personal character,” Murphy said. “He lived a life in service to his fellow Americans and taught those he touched with his unwavering integrity. Having known him personally, Tammy and I were honored to claim him — as well as Barbara and other family members — as a friend.”
In a talk with Stockton University before the funeral, Ocean City resident William Hughes — former congressman for New Jersey’s 2nd District, former ambassador to Panama and namesake of the university’s William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy — reflected on what he remembers most of working in Washington concurrently with Bush.
“He was above all a lovely human being, which was evident throughout his many careers in public life,” Hughes said. “When he served in the House, he loved our gym, and it was not unusual for him during his presidency to show up and greet his former colleagues at least once a year.”
MAYS LANDING — “As relieved that I am that there has been justice for April, I’m just sad,” Kimberly Pack said. “This sadness is something I’ve never felt before, and I believe that I am finally able to grieve my mother.”
Pack, daughter of local veterans advocate, businesswoman and radio host April Kauffman, who was fatally shot in 2012, addressed the court from the prosecution’s desk Wednesday morning while pictures of her and her mother were projected onto a screen during the sentencing of the man found guilty of her murder.
Ferdinand “Freddy” Augello, 62, a sign maker and retired member of the Pagans outlaw motorcycle club from Upper Township, was sentenced to life plus 30 years in state prison with 55 years of parole ineligibility for the murder of April Kauffman, as well as the conspiracy to murder April’s husband, Dr. James Kauffman, and four charges related to running an illegal opioid ring out of James Kauffman’s Egg Harbor Township medical practice.
He was found guilty Oct. 2 after a trial in Atlantic County Superior Court.
“For the first time since the jury returned a verdict, I feel alive and awake,” Pack said, letting a sob escape from time to time while reading from a statement. “Over the years, I have felt like I have been dead myself.”
During the hearing, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy argued for consecutive sentences on each charge, while Augello’s defense attorney, Mary Linehan, argued for a concurrent sentence.
“It’s a blatant murder-for-hire,” Levy said. “It’s a blatant attempted murder to cover up other crimes. It’s drug distribution on a scale spanning a decade. It’s organizing many other people into this scheme in order to keep it going.”
Augello spoke for a little over 30 minutes before his sentence was handed down by Judge Bernard E. DeLury Jr., saying he was “stunned,” he was being “railroaded” and calling the case against him “a farce.”
“This isn’t a drug ring, this is a drug addict ring,” Augello said. “I’m not responsible for the death of April Kauffman.”
He called out several of the co-defendants turned state’s witness in the case who testified against him — Joseph Mulholland, Beverly Augello, Glenn Seeler, Tabitha Chapman and Cheryl Pizza — and made allegations against Andrew “Chef” Glick, a witness in the case and a confidential informant who led investigators to Augello.
“I just can’t believe I’ve been convicted and I’m going to jail for the rest of my life and the people that did this are sitting at home,” he said, adding that he’s willing to take a polygraph to prove his innocence.
The sentencings for four of the five of Augello’s former co-defendants originally slated for Thursday have been postponed until February. Pizza is still scheduled to appear Thursday morning before DeLury.
MAYS LANDING — The man who hired the hitman who killed April Kauffman in her Linwood home will find out Wednesday how much of the rest of his life he will spend behind bars.
During the hearing, DeLury denied the defense’s motion for a new trial, which included a complaint that was made to the Office of the Attorney General alleging the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office withheld evidence in the case.
After the sentencing, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner held a press conference, during which he said DeLury’s finding “exonerates” all the members of the office.
Tyner said Augello will not be eligible for parole until he is 117 years old, “which will all but ensure he will spend the remainder of his natural life behind bars for the crimes that he committed.”
The Miss America Organization is fed up with Miss New Jersey’s leadership, but will still take New Jersey’s money.
Matt Doherty, executive director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, said Wednesday the authority has received a request for proposal from the Miss America Organization regarding future sponsorship.
The CRDA has not responded to the pageant organizers, with Doherty saying it’s “too early to say.”
The MAO has not returned calls or emails for comment on its current status in Atlantic City.
Meanwhile, the MAO is still taking action against the executive directors and board members of several states, including New Jersey, that were vocal about their dissatisfaction with the “Miss America 2.0” rebranding.
Representatives for the Miss New Jersey Education Foundation said they could not comment on the license termination at this time.
Three more states have had their licenses revoked by the Miss America Organization. The state pageant organizations in New Jersey, New York and Florida were emailed letters Friday on official organization letterhead, notifying them the state licenses have been revoked, according to former MAO board member Jennifer Vaden Barth.
“Each state organization is a licensee of the Miss America Organization,” according to letters sent to each state organization the MAO deemed delinquent in late September. The letters notified them the organizations were in breach of contract with MAO and were subject to either a review of licensing during a probationary period or immediate termination of contract.
The board of directors for the Miss New Jersey pageant received a notification letter from MAO attorneys asking for information and the reason why the state pageant’s executive director signed a “vote of no confidence” letter in June, three months before the national Miss America Competition.
Directors of the Miss New York and Miss Florida pageants also signed the petition.
Miss New Jersey complied with the request while under the threat of probation and was unsure of the status of the licensing until this week.
The state and local pageants that feed into the national pageant enter into a franchise-like agreement with terms to operate under the Miss America Competition name.
The three states join Georgia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, which also had their licensing revoked. The board of directors for the Miss Colorado pageant resigned in September, citing ongoing issues with MAO.
The CRDA was previously Miss America’s main sponsor since 2012, first subsidizing $7.3 million over three years, then in 2015 agreeing to a $12 million contract, providing an annual $4.3 million under a three-year contract that expired after this year’s competition.
Former Fox News anchor and Miss America 1989 Gretchen Carlson became the Miss America Board of Trustees chairwoman in January, following the removal of Sam Haskell and several board members over an email scandal.
Regina Hopper was announced as president and CEO of the organization in May. Both women have drawn the ire of thousands of Miss America volunteers, who claim there is a lack of transparency with the current leadership’s actions.
A campaign, led by Barth, seeking legal action to remove Carlson and Hopper from the Miss America leadership has raised more than $41,000.