Scouting Simon family honored in East Brunswick

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EAST BRUNSWICK Longtime township residents Albert and Charlotte Simon were presented with a mayoral proclamation for their years of dedication to the community and involvement with Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

The Simons have been residents for more than 50 years. They have been married for 57 years and have seven children, 26 grandchildren and two great grandchildren, according to Albert Simon.

The Boy Scouts has been an important part of their lives. Albert Simon was the leadership training chairman of BSA’s Knickerbocker District in Manhattan and Charlotte Simon was a troop committee member for many years. They even spent their honeymoon at a Boy Scout camp in Pawling, New York, according to the proclamation presented on July 24.

Albert and Charlotte Simon enrolled all five of their sons in the Boys Scouts, specifically Boy Scout Troop 223, sponsored by East Brunswick VFW Post 133, and today 15 members of their family are Eagle Scouts for the organization, with five more Life Scouts expected in the next two years, according to Albert Simon.

“I specifically asked to be able to read this proclamation because myself and my wife Kathy have known this family for over 40 years. We have seen what dedication and high exception and love can help a family achieve, it shows right here,” Councilman Michael Spadafino said.

After honoring the members of the Simon family, Mayor Brad Cohen declared that Civic Center Drive be renamed “Simon Way” from July 25 to Aug. 31.

“We did try to do the research and check with the BSA to see if there were any other families that even came close to that many Eagle Scouts. … They don’t keep statistics on that; they only thing they knew was a family that had 11 … and since there is supposedly six more on the way [in the Simon family] you will by far break whatever unofficial record they have,” Cohen said. “That, to me, is a testament to the family and the commitment to such high ideals that any people in one family can achieve such a high rank and I think that alone desires recognition.”

Albert Simon retired as an executive for Port Authority in 1993 after 33-and-a-half years. He also served as an East Brunswick Board of Education member for 12 years and was president during his last year on the board, he said.

“I became a Boy Scout at the age of 13. The entry age then was 12, and I took to it immediately without any family encouragement or support, as we find today. Due to a very severe rigid requirement at that time, I realized I could not achieve the much desired Eagle rank, reaching Life. Rising in the leadership ranks in a troop in Brooklyn, I was also a den chief to Cub Scouts, and served as an assistant scoutmaster in several troops, including during my service in the U.S. Army Reserve at Fort Knox, Kentucky and in Manhattan,” Albert Simon said.

Just two days prior to the ceremony, Albert Simon celebrated his 80th birthday.

“[I’m] extremely pleased, humbled and somewhat surprised,” he said of the honor. “But rather than merely enjoying the glory and recognition, I sincerely hope that we will serve as an example or perhaps even inspiration to others. Scouting, as we know it, is not necessarily part of the culture of many our citizens who come from other countries, and could use the encouragement to get involved. Furthermore, with all of the negativity and disparaging of the millennial generation, something positive certainly deserves some place in the media. It was an unexpected surprise.”   

In more unexpected connections, Cohen, who is an obstetrician, helped deliver one of the Simons’ granddaughters. Spadafino has been Albert Simon’s chiropractor. Spadfino’s wife Kathy taught most of the Simons’ children, according to Albert Simon.

 

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.