Written by Cathy Finnegan Sunday, October 21, 2012 12:00 am
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When the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce roasted Bill Elliott at their annual event at Sandi Point, the sign outside the restaurant appropriately read “Special Tonight – Roasted Elliott.” Shawnda McGinnis, Barbara Brown and Caitlin Greene greeted guests when they arrived while Michele Gillian and Rose Savastano made final arrangements in the dining room.
Bill Elliott was busy posing for pictures and chatting with friends and colleagues. His wife, Muriel Elliott, wore a bright red sweater accented with one of her signature print scarves. The Elliotts recently returned from vacation in Vermont. After being in Maryland promoting the HERO Campaign, they arrived home a couple hours before the dinner. I stopped to chat with Marie and Bud Knight and Barbara and Richard Long, who were sitting at a table enjoying the social hour. Denise and Gary Jessel looked relaxed and rested having just returned from vacation in Las Vegas to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. Debbie Clark arrived early and was looking for her co-workers from Ocean City Home Bank, Jean Jacobson, Kim Davidson, Dawn Brodton and Fran Jerue, who showed up just in time for dinner. I had to practically drag Billy McMahon away from his friends to get his picture. Sandy McMahon, along with daughter Maura Primus and daughter-in-law Anita McMahon, were headed to NYC by limousine the next day with son Michael’s fiancé to check out bridal gowns at Kleinfeld’s from “Say Yes to the Dress.” Bill McMahon admitted he was staying home to babysit. Michael Lloyd tried his best to sneak into the McMahon family picture.
I enjoyed catching up with Cheryl McCauley Alverson and her husband, Steve, who are neighbors of the Elliotts. Cheryl was crowned Miss Ocean City in 1989, the first year I served as a hostess for the pageant. Cheryl is still best friends with Ocean City High School classmates and former Miss Ocean City contestants Tricia Bowman, Gwen Goldberg and Susan Stover. Steve’s father is Lyle Alverson, former principal of the Intermediate School. Bob Garrett celebrated his 75th birthday at the roast. Mary Garrett and sister Hazel Kavle saw “Evita” in NYC Wednesday. Sandy Aromando wore a bright green, sleeveless dress, and she and husband Tom and son Matt were looking forward to a vacation in London over Columbus Day weekend. It took some trying, but chamber President Brian Broadley finally got everyone to sit down for dinner. While filling my platter in the buffet line, I chatted with Karen and Alan Beatty and Leigh Batastini, who reported daughter Emily entered the Junior Miss Ocean City Pageant. TheBatastini clan is also looking forward to their annual trip to NYC the day after Thanksgiving to see a show and for Emily go backstage and meet the Rockettes. I enjoyed dinner chatting with Hank Glaser, Winnie Piriano, Carol Heenan, Terry and Tom Prendergast and Sonny McCullough. Terry is the director of marketing and outings at McCullough’s Emerald Golf Links while Tom is a former detective with Atlantic County Major Crime Squad. Sonny and I, who both graduated from Atlantic City High School in 1959 and 1960 and grew up in Margate, enjoyed reminiscing about the good old days.
After dinner Jay Gillian presented Bill Elliott with a Piece of the Walk and Jeff Van Drew said after a long day in budget committee even Gregory Gregory’s jokes will seem funny. When Brian Broadley introduced Gregory Gregory to emcee the roast, he joked about seeing Greg outside Gregory’s Restaurant next door trying to get people in his restaurant. Greg sported a black tuxedo accented with a bright printed vest and matching bowtie, and he had zingers for many in the audience. Alluding to when Sandi Point was known as Mac’s, Greg said Dan still has two or three chicken parmigianas in the freezer. He recalled Gabe Staino’s automobile television advertisements as the worst ever, but now he’s working for Shore Medical. When Greg finally got to the roastee, he commented on all his hair and how Ted Koppel calls to see how he does it. He recalled Bill worked at Atlantic City Electric, for the LPGA and finally at Shore Medical Center and wondered what he did at each job. Seriously, Greg commented on the great job Bill and Muriel have done with the HERO Campaign and getting it off the ground.
When Bill Elliott got his turn for rebuttal, he stood at the podium with a big file saying he brought all his files on the secrets of his fundraising. He thanked everyone for this tribute. Bill said that although he and Muriel live in Egg Harbor Township, they think of Ocean City as their home as they spend so much time in America’s Greatest Family Resort. He even had some new names for the town like Hallidayville, Broadley Town and Gillian’s Island with three hour tours and Michele could change her name to Mary Ann or Ginger. Muriel said they have ties to Ocean City as her mother and sister worked at the Breakers while Muriel worked at the Sting Ray Motel. Their son, John, worked at Wonderland in the summer during high school.
At the end of the roast everyone put on black rimmed glasses exactly like Bill’s. After the roast, I stopped to chat with June and Doug Heun, Sally Huff and George Savastano. I walked out to the parking lot with Hank Glaser and Mike Dattilo as I hit the door opener to locate my car when the lights came on.
Members of the Police Department showed up in their dress blues while firefighters showed off lots of brass at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church for the ceremony of appreciation. Ginny and Dick Strang and Eileen and Jim Locke served as greeters while Nancy Caine headed up the ladies usher team. Katie Hall took pictures of her father, Dave, with fellow officers and Kathy Breunig made sure I got a picture of her with son Chris in his new chief’s uniform. Billy Bowman was in the picture with the firefighters that brother Charlie missed as he was teaching his Sunday School class. Jay Gillian was on hand to honor the police officers and firefighters along with Brian Roberts and the St. Peter’s congregation.
After the service everyone enjoyed a social time with cookies, cake and cupcakes and punch prepared and served by Jennifer Bowman, Pat Custard and Gayle Robbins. My husband enjoyed catching up with retired officer Andy Martin, and old friends Bruce Breunig and Angie and Don Pileggi while I met new members at St. Peter’s Judy and Richard Rinck. Jane Charles told me they used to worry about son Ben driving their Honda Civic when he first got his driver’s license and now he pilots an F/A 18 Super Hornet all over the world.