It was great to be back at historic Convention Hall in Asbury Park for the event New Jerseyeans wait for all year! The New Jersey Hall of Fame—The celebration of the Garden State and its greatest achievers.
“You can take the girl out of Jersey, but you can’t take the Jersey out of the girl!’ exclaimed renowned journalist, Connie Chung of Middletown.
"This is the third year here and it’s just fantastic. 'Asbury Park' right now is like the two key buzz-words in not just New Jersey, but the Northeast. So much is going on in Asbury Park- the concerts, the movie festivals, the hotel, three years of the Hall of Fame. It's going to be a wonderful summer." said Mayor Moor of Asbury Park.
The annual New Jersey Hall of Fame, is a non-profit organization that honors citizens who have made instrumental contributions to the state and to society. The citizens of New Jersey, along with the board of the Hall of Fame determined this year’s class.
I asked television personality, Maury Povich, if he could offer any words of wisdom. "I always believe that it doesn't matter where you start out, in the business, believe it or not, I started out writing publicity releases... So I would just get in anywhere you can and kind of migrate to your passion," said Povich.
His wife, Connie Chung, piggybacked that with, "It's a different ball game now than when I was in television news. It’s really all digital now, so you have to think forward to the digital world."
Former Met & Yankee Player, Al Leiter reminisced, "Having the chance to play for both teams locally in New York, with the Yankees and the Mets, and then living nearby and growing up down in Ocean County- it's a dream come true!"
Although the hall is looking for a permanent home, the leadership is more than happy with the 125,000 visitors last year. New Jersey 101.5 radio host, Big Joe Henry, hosted this year’s star-studded event, at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park.
Gary Gellman, the official photographer of the annual event says, “I've had the opportunity to meet so many great people from the great state of New Jersey. All throughout the entire state. So its a wonderful opportunity for the state and how greatness came from it, but also the great things that will come from it."
Each year, there is also a special ‘Unsung Hero’ award recognizing individuals who have worked to improve the lives of others. Recipients’ Sue and Ed Goldstein dedicated the past 40 years to providing hope and lifesaving treatment, after losing both of their daughters to cancer.
The line of the night was summed up by Steven Edwards, the President of the Hall of Fame. "As Bruce Springsteen said at his inaugural ceremony at the Hall of Fame in 2008, we know there's still another bad 'Jersey joke' just around the corner, but he then went on to urge New Jerseyeans to define ourselves. To have fun and define ourselves on our terms.. As Governor Kean once said, when New Jerseyseans feel proud, they feel good about themselves. Then, anything is possible."
Whether its performing arts, public service, entertainment and sports - the New Jersey Hall of Fame exists to serve as a role model for our youth…. Encouraging them that anything is possible and to follow their dreams.
For the full video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0KJzM_oYkA