With God’s faith and patience, “all things are possible,” Alberta Gramby told a big crowd over the weekend, at Morristown’s 25th annual George Gramby Day.
The event honored the memory of the founder of Beginnings, a program that helped people fight substance abuse.
Faith helped Alberta cope with fears about her son overdosing on drugs, she said, and it has rewarded her with this annual memorial to him, a day of music and food and softball and basketball.
Slideshow photos by Penny Lopez:
Saturday also was a day of emotional moments, and words of inspiration and hope.
Mayor Tim Dougherty, First Lady Mary Dougherty, and Morris County Sheriff James Gannon were among recipients of Humanitarian Awards.
Another award winner, Jaylen King, told the crowd, “my mother and father always taught me to value others more than myself. I believe that’s what George Gramby’s all about…That’s what heals the hurt with everyone, if you love everybody.”
His brother, Brandon King of Morristown, also received a plaque. “If you have a chance to make an impact on somebody, do that,” he said.
Some of the festivities were held at George Gramby Memorial Park, the Abbett Avenue playground rechristened in 2014. Gramby, who was in recovery from substance abuse, died of AIDS in 1992.
Peer counselor Alton Robinson was honored on Saturday for helping more than 400 people last year.
“If any of you are struggling, or know of someone who is struggling, no matter the insurance, no matter how much money they may have, we can get them help,” Robinson said, sharing his number: 973-615-9406.
Sheriff Gannon offered his assistance, too. He has expanded the county’s Mobile One program, which brings information about substance abuse recovery resources–and Narcan overdose antidote kits–into the community. He also has launched a wing within the Morris County Jail geared to help addicts recover and get a fresh start.
Mary Dougherty, co-founder of the Morristown Women in Business and a candidate for Morris County Freeholder, expressed gratitude for the welcome she and her husband received when they moved to town years ago. It taught them “you can’t keep it unless you give it away,” she said.
Mayor Tim Dougherty said he looks forward to a milestone of his own in October: three decades of sobriety.
“Almost 30 years ago, I met George Gramby. And it was on a baseball field. And George was sitting on a little chair… and I thought I was something special at 30 years old. Until George called me over and whispered this in my ear…”
The three-term mayor walked over to Alberta Gramby, shared something privately, composed himself, and concluded:
“God bless his memory, God bless you, Mrs. Gramby, and God bless all of you who stick together, one day at a time.”
Morristown Green correspondent Penny Lopez contributed to this story.
Alberta Gramby gives thanks at the 25th annual George Gramby Day. Video by Penny Lopez for MorristownGreen.com:
Humanitarian awards at the 25th annual George Gramby Day, video by Penny Lopez for MorristownGreen.com: