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Gottheimer celebrates Sussex County Senior of the Year Peg Behnke for life of community service

AUGUSTA, NJ (Sussex County) — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Thursday celebrated Senior Day at the New Jersey State Fair – Sussex County Farm and Horse Show, held at the Sussex County Fairgrounds.

Gottheimer presented a flag flown over the United States Capitol and congressional certificate to Sussex County’s “Senior Citizen of the Year” and Fifth District resident Peg Behnke, for her life of service to our community.

Gottheimer greeted and thanked veterans and active duty Army service members, toured the 4-H farm animal exhibit and met with youth leaders, visited with local veteran organizations, stopped by the local Rotary food concessions, and held a roundtable with Northern New Jersey growers, farmers, and members of the New Jersey Farm Bureau.

Gottheimer spoke with local seniors, residents, and students at booths throughout the Sussex County Fairgrounds.

Gottheimer was joined by Sussex County Commissioners Herb Yardley and Jill Space, NJ State Senator Steve Oroho, NJ Assemblyman Hal Wirths, and NJ Assemblyman Parker Space, Sussex County Sheriff Michael Strada, and Sussex County Clerk Jeff Parrott.

Gottheimer highlighted Peg Behnke’s dedicated service and leadership to our community, to the Harvest House Community Lunch Program, and to Our Lady of Fatima Church. A Sussex County resident for 49 years, Peg was one of the first faculty members at Vernon Township High School. She played an instrumental role in classroom set-up in the new home-economics wing, as well as the development of the computer curriculum and labs.

Peg eventually rose to the Glen Meadow Middle School Coordinator for Arts, Special Areas, Foreign Languages, and Physical Education. Peg taught for nearly four decades, and the New Jersey Department of Education has honored her contributions with a Governor’s Teaching Award.

Since 2005, Peg has been a volunteer and Board of Trustees member of Harvest House Community Lunch Program in Sussex Borough. Today, Harvest House provides 40-50 low-income individuals, mostly seniors and also veterans, with a nourishing meal that they can depend on each weekday. Even during the pandemic’s darkest times, Harvest House did not miss a day.

“There is no greater responsibility than that we owe to those who have given so much to us. Sussex County seniors and volunteers make invaluable contributions to our North Jersey community, and I’m proud to be able to take today to celebrate with them and honor Peg Behnke in particular. Through her leadership, service, dedication, and kindness, Peg Behnke exemplifies Sussex County at its finest,” Gottheimer said. “The Sussex County Fair is one of my favorite New Jersey traditions and I’m glad to be able to visit with so many Fifth District residents and seniors here today.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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