Presented by a member of the Gambatese family, this award is given to a woman who volunteers or goes beyond her job in order to benefit the community.
Frank T. Gambatese, former Mayor of South Brunswick, had a very fulfilling life. He moved to South Brunswick in 1992. Mayor Gambatese was an All-State athlete. In 1954, he was drafted as a pitcher by the Chicago Cubs. However, he choose to serve in the U.S. Air Force from 1954 to 1958. Frank has been mayor of South Brunswick Township from 2003 to 2017. He previously served as deputy mayor. He was inducted into the New Jersey League of Municipalities Hall of Fame in 2015. Frank and his late wife, Ellen, met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while being civil rights activists during the 1960s. He was a communicant of St. Augustine of Canterbury R.C. Church in Kendall Park, and a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was a member of the VFW and the American Legion in both West Paterson and South Brunswick. He also served as a member of the Library Board of Trustees in South Brunswick since the early 1990s. Mayor Gambatese was also a former member of the board of directors for Saint Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick. He enjoyed reading, golfing, sports, and traveling with Ellen.
Ellen Marie Gambatese, wife to Mayor Frank Gambatese raised a family of five children for 27 years. They moved to South Brunswick in 1992. Ellen graduated Magna Cum Laude from Seton Hall University with a BS in Education in 1966 and served as teacher until 1985. She was a communicant of St. Augustine of Canterbury RC Church in Kendall Park and member of the Columbiettes. Mrs. Gambatese also served as president of the South Brunswick Library Board of Trustees, was chairwoman of the Community Developmental Block Grant and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of NJ. In addition, she was a Democratic Committeewoman in South Brunswick and a Docent at the NJ State House. She was a recipient of several community awards including the Silvio O Conte Award from the Brain Injury Association of NJ , the Barry Indik Memorial Award given by the Citizens for Independent Living , both recognizing her for her tireless work with adults with disabilities. Ellen also received the Library Trustee of the Year Award from Middlesex County.
Ellen & Frank Gambatese were great supporters of SBCW over all the years from the founding until their deaths. Ellen passed at age 76. Ellen served us as panelist during our leadership conferences. In her honor SBCW renamed their Star Award to Ellen Gambatese Award. 2017 Frank died at age 81 during the night into our 20th Annual Leadership Conference for which he originally had been chosen to be one of the key note speakers together with Honorable Judge and former SB Mayor Debra Johnson, the founder of SBCW. The Gambateses supported SBCW in many ways with their expertise and in their public roles as well as being financial sponsors.
In 2018 the Ellen Gambatese Award was renamed Ellen & Frank Gambatese Memorial Award to honor this remarkable couple for their life long service of community.
Presented by a member of the Roedel family, this award honors a woman involved in philanthropy.
Arthur and Debbie Roedel were long time residents of South Brunswick Township who were dedicated to betterment of the Township and countless philanthropic causes. They both dedicated their lives to helping others through volunteerism and fundraising. The South Brunswick Women’s Commission was an organization they both cared very deeply for, which was evident by their long term support of the Commission. First and foremost, Arthur and Debbie’s goals were to help as many people as possible and they were always uncomfortable being singled out for their efforts.
Arthur and Debbie’s dedication to the town dates back to the 1970’s when Arthur coordinated events for the Townships Bicentennial Celebrations. They remained active in Town up until Debbie passed away in 2017 and Arthur in 2018. They were always very proud to coordinate the Town’s Community Unity Day (now National Night Out), which brought the people of the Town together in a positive environment. Both Arthur and Debbie were very active on Township Committees; Arthur serving on the Rent Leveling Board, Economic Development Committee, South Brunswick Library Foundation, and Social Services Advisory Board while Debbie served as a member of the Planning Board, Zoning Board and Social Services Advisory Board.
In addition to their work in the Township, they were very active in The Lions Club, where they both spent time as District Governor ( Debbie as the first female one) and both served on the Board for the Lions Eye Bank. Arthur was also very active in greater Middlesex County where he served as Chair of Women Aware and as a Member of the Middlesex County College Special Services Board.
Their philanthropy stretched far beyond the causes listed above and include an Endowed Fellowship at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, where both were treated up until their deaths. The South Brunswick Women’s Commission created the Arthur and Debbie Roedel Philanthropy Award to honor residents who work hard to help others through philanthropy and embody Arthur and Debbie through their service to others.
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