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Goodbye to Rumson Rec Director Hird

Upon his retirement, John Hird was recognized at the borough's reorganization.

It was one day past his last as a department head in Rumson. On New Year's Day, an officially retired John Hird sat quietly and smiled through what, for him, was a farewell reorganization ceremony as a borough staff member.

Hird had spent many years dedicating himself to borough recreation, in both full- and part-time capacities. The last eight years, though, he spent as Rumson's full-time supervisor of Parks and Recreation/director of Recreation, which he called "a wonderful job and a great run!" in the resignation letter he penned to the governing body and residents not long ago.

Reminiscing about Hird's recereational run with the town, Mayor John Ekdahl recently called the post "the most difficult job in Rumson."

And so the mayor and governing body recognized Hird for doing that job well on what was his first day off the job.

Ekdahl has many memories of Hird, which he gladly revisited before the reorganization. One — the start-line of the Hird run — stood out in his mind.

"He started the job as a part-time employee when Rumson did not have nearly as many sports or participants," the mayor said. "I will never forget the day now deceased Councilman Tre Rowse called me in Florida during the Daytona 500 and said, 'We better offer John Hird a full-time position or he is going to Red Bank for that opening.' The offer was made and we never looked back."

Looking forward, once again, Ekdahl said that Hird has left his mark with a new Rumson Recreation website, which, he said, makes involvement in borough recreation very convenient for residents. The site "is now interactive to the point of accepting registration fees," the mayor said. 

Hird's replacement has not yet been chosen, but will be soon, Ekdahl said.

If you have not already seen it, below is Hird's retirement letter:

I would like to personally thank all of you for your continued support and all you do for the children in our community. 

It is truly amazing how many programs we have including all of the sports, summer camps, summer playground, crew, summer concerts, Halloween parade, and so on ...  In addition to all of these wonderful activities, we have incredible parks for our players and community members. 

All of this is possible because of your commitment under the direction of a fine Mayor and Council, Borough Administrator and his staff, Recreation Commission, Department of Public Works and all of the residents who have supported recreation for many years.

I have always said that my volunteer coaches are true heroes for all that they do and I have been honored to serve you all of these years.

I have served both as a part-time director for many years and the last eight years as a full-time director of recreation. It is extremely difficult to leave a job for which I have so much passion and love; however, that is exactly how I want to end my career.

I have truly been blessed to have met so many wonderful people in this town and I have every intention of remaining here to enjoy all that it has to offer its residents. I will be 65 years old next year and I am fortunate at this time to have my health and energy to enjoy life.

My wife recently retired and we look forward to enjoying our many activities and interests. Most importantly, though, is to enjoy our two children and our five grandchildren.

I truly believe the recreation programs and facilities are in great shape for a smooth transition.

This has been a wonderful job and a great run! Thank you for embracing this program and most importantly for all you do for our children. I have the utmost respect for all of you.

Sincerely,
John R. Hird

BETSY FORD January 03, 2013 at 01:53 PM
As a volunteer coach for many years, I will always remember John's calming influence when faced with intense parents. He was always so supportive of his referees, my son being one of them. Good Luck John!
Joanne January 03, 2013 at 04:10 PM
What a great guy - I will never forget the time my son's football registration was lost in the mail. I did not know until 15 minutes before the team organization meeting. John did not know me or my son, but he stayed in the office until I got there to hand him a new registration form. I'm pretty sure I made him late for his meeting, but my son got to be on the team with his friends that year, thanks to John. He went above and beyond, and I wish him all the best in his retirement!
Goodsurf6 January 03, 2013 at 07:06 PM
I am blessed that my three oldest boys experienced the greatness that John created. I am just sad the younger one is not yet old enough. That being said, I can see a future where all 4 will be involved wi what can only be seen as one of the top rec programs around. Thanks so much for all you did John. Sean And Marion Moran
Joey Bagdano January 03, 2013 at 07:12 PM
Best of the best. I am happy to have coached under his stewardship. Great guy all around. You will be missed my friend.
Howard Caufield January 03, 2013 at 10:24 PM
I am proud to have worked with John , as one of those volunteer coaches, way back when he first took the job. Welcome to retirement John. Howie Caufield

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