The Fillipone Family (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

I cannot even venture a guess has to how many times in nearly 40 years I have been a Master of Ceremonies, speaker or host at an event.

From golf tournaments to Hall of Fame dinners, graduations and even eulogies I’ve done just about everything although I will admit that in recent years I’ve finally learned how to say “no” when asked. I mention this after a weekend in which I had two engagements which for those of you who remember the Patty Duke Show theme song were “as different as night and day.”

On Friday night I was the emcee at a retirement party for Dennis Filippone at the Ramada Inn of Toms River. Dennis spent 41 years in the Brick School District as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal and even interim superintendent. This after growing up in Brick and playing football for the legendary Warren Wolf. To say he touched the lives of many would be an understatement and some 175 people came out to be part of what truly was an incredible evening.

I’ve done dozens of testimonial dinners and retirements over the years and have never heard such glowing remarks as those aimed at Dennis during the program.
Former football players including Leon Mowadia, Jr., teammates like Dan Duddy, colleagues including Susan McNamara and current Brick principal and event organizer Bill Kleissler all talked about the special qualities that made Filippone so good at what he did for so long.

Dennis Filippone (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

The words that brought the house down came from his twin brother Steven, himself a Hall of Fame football coach from Connecticut. The bond between the two clearly started when as Steven said “my brother kicked me out of the womb.” Simply an incredible evening and one I was truly honored to be a part of.

Now if a retirement party is part of an ending then a wedding is clearly the celebration of a beginning and on Saturday night I was the officiant for the wedding of Sarah Gonsiewski and Zach Liguori at The Carriage House in Galloway Township. The two met at Toms River High School South and have been together ever since and it was last summer that Sarah’s mother Anne asked if I would perform the ceremony.

It was the fourth wedding I have done as a member of the Universal Life Church and for what it’s worth I only do family and friends, unless there is a lot of money involved.

Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Zach Liguori and to Dennis Filippone.

Mr. & Mrs. Zach Liguori with Kevin Williams (Townsquare Media NJ)