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...
(Each year at a breakfast sponsored by the Haddonfield Lions Club, the Mayor of Haddonfield gives a "State of the Borough" speech. On Jan. 10, 2004, as part of her report at the 32nd Annual Mayor's Breakfast, Mayor Tish Colombi provided her own recap of the Haddonfield dinosaur project and why it mattered. Below is a transcript of her remarks.)
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By Tish Colombi
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HADDONFIELD, N.J. (Jan. 10, 2004) -- At about this time last year, we proclaimed 2003 "The Year of the Dinosaur" in recognition of the ambitious project of the Garden Club to commission a
Photo: Hoag Levins
In her 'State of the Borough' speech on Jan. 10, 2004, Haddonfield Mayor Tish Colombi looked back at a year of dinosaur events that changed the town.

sculpture of Hadrosaurus foulkii, the Haddonfield dinosaur, and to install it in Lantern Lane.

Magnificent
I don't think any of us realized that the effort would be quite so extraordinary or that the outcome would be quite so magnificent.

Those of you who have worked on major projects in town know that nothing worth while in Haddonfield ever happens quickly or easily. But I venture to suggest that until the Year of the Dinosaur, there has never been a project that aroused such widespread enthusiasm, support and participation as Haddonfield Acts to Create Hadrosaurus or "HATCH," the committee formed to carry out the Garden Club's vision.

There were fundraisers from the Rotary Club oyster supper and Haddonfield Day at the River Sharks stadium to the Holiday House Tour. There were modern day equivalents of bake sales: t-shirts, pins, hats, pavers, benches, miniature sculptures and Dimes for Dinosaurs banks. There were viral marketing activities. On the opening day of the Little League season, costumed dinosaurs joined the ball players to parade down the highway. On the 4th of July the 65 Club, Haddon Fortnightly and scores of family and children adopted dinosaur themes for their floats and bikes.
Photo: Hoag Levins
Haddonfield's dinosaur was celebrated by at least five different community groups in the 2003 Fourth of July parade.

Dino Day
There was the current community calendar, perhaps the most beautiful ever, which includes dinosaur drawings by scores of children. There was Dino Day with dino-files coming from far and wide, including ancestors of William Parker Foulke -- who discovered out now-famous fossil in 1858 -- to participate in a wide variety of events throughout the town.

There were the six months John Giannotti spent in his studio, the barn behind his home, carefully creating the sculpture. He welcomed hundreds of school children and community members to participate in the clay process and to watch him create Hadrosaurus, once again becoming the teacher to captivated students.

Markeim Art Center
There was an extraordinary exhibit at the Markeim Art Center featuring drawings of dinosaurs by children juxtaposed with those of professional artists -- friends of sculptor John Giannotti. I am now the proud owner of a wooden dinosaur in a top hat superimposed over the American flag. It was drawn by Derek Hinsey, age 7, and interpreted in wood by HATCH member and artist, Don Jackson.

There was the transformation of Lantern Lane -- by landscaper Al Masullo -- in a matter of weeks to a lush and welcoming environment that would make any Hadrosaurus feel right at home.

And then there was D Day, October 14, a day to remember as hundreds of school children lined Kings Highway and cheered wildly at the flatbed truck carrying a one-and-a-half ton sculpture wrapped in
Photo: Hoag Levins
Several yars of planning and volunteer work culminated in the unveiling and dedication of the finished sculpture on Oct. 18, 2003.

white plastic as it followed its police escort to the final destination in Lantern Lane.

Unveiling and dedication
And there was the unveiling ceremony itself on October 18 when the multi colored parachute that covered the work was whisked away and the magnificent sculpture was revealed for all to see and admire. It was a magical moment for all, especially for the members of the HATCH Committee who had worked so single mindedly for nearly 18 months.

On the morning of the dedication, I found myself thinking about how the project began. It started with a suggestion from the Garden Club that Lantern Lane be spruced up a bit. Then came a suggestion to add a work of art, a sculpture of some kind. And that lead to the idea for a representation of the Haddonfield dinosaur and the formation of the HATCH Committee.

Involved entire community
HATCH was a Committee with a can-do philosophy, never looking back, never thinking it could not be done and never being daunted by the magnitude of the challenge. The ideas of the volunteers kept coming, the enthusiasm kept spreading and the excitement kept growing. The project involved the entire community every step of the way and it now serves as a blueprint for other community fundraising projects.

As I stand here at this Lions Club event and think back on it now, it reminds me that Aristotle said "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." I would change the quote slightly and say 'We are what we repeatedly do, volunteering then, is not an act but a habit.'

And this was nowhere better demonstrated then during this last year as a
Photo: Hoag Levins
2003's 'Year of the Dinosaur' was a triumph of volunteerism, the mayor said.

corps of volunteers raised their hands again and again to pitch in for yet the next wave of tasks required by our "Year of the Dinosaur" projects.

Volunteerism
Now, included in all the things that the finished Hadrosaurus sculpture represents is the importance of volunteerism as the very glue of a community like Haddonfield.

If you have not made a New Year's resolution yet this year, I urge you to make one now. Raise your hand, become involved and invest your time and your talent in this community. Help make every year in Haddonfield, "The Year of the Volunteer."

All Rights Reserved © 2002 - 2004, Hadrosaurus.com
Editor, Hadrosaurus.com
.

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