Councilwoman hosts community cookout on her birthday

Photo by Chris Sykes
Three youths wait for their turn to play basketball on Saturday, July 28, during South Ward Councilwoman Sandy Jones’ annual community cookout and block party.

IRVINGTON, NJ — South Ward Councilwoman Sandy Jones spent her birthday, Saturday, July 28, doing what she’s always done — throwing a community cookout and block party for her neighbors and constituents, instead of sitting back and letting someone else throw a party for her.

“Yes, today is my birthday. I had the big party last year, so this is good,” said Jones on Saturday, July 28. “We’re having a cookout and the annual block party so, once again, it’s a success and, if people wanted something to eat, they better get outside and get some.”

Jones’ words were not lost on her fellow Team Irvington Strong teammates, Ron Brown and Rasheed Williams. Brown is a member of the Irvington Public Library Board of Directors and Williams is a Team Irvington Strong loyalist and district leader.

But on Saturday, July 28, Williams said he was just another resident looking to have a good time and fellowship with Jones and others. That was also the case with Deputy Clerk Shawna Supel and co-workers Roxane Sayers and Shonta Watson.

“I’m out here supporting Sandy and not only supporting her cookout, but everybody in Irvington, plus I want to shout out ‘happy birthday’ to her,” said Williams on Saturday, July 28. “Today is Sandy’s birthday, so I’m going to wish her a happy birthday. She’s always with the community. It’s about helping all over Irvington. ‘Irvington strong’ is not just a slogan. We want to keep Irvington strong and safe. That’s what it’s all about.”

“I’m so stuffed I can barely talk,” said Mayor Tony Vauss on Saturday, July 28. “I’m just enjoying Councilwoman Jones’ birthday, so I definitely wish her a happy birthday. It just happens to fall on her yearly block party that she has here on Maple Avenue. It’s always a good turnout. Kids have a good time.”

Vauss said he thinks this is what makes Jones a role model and community leader.

“This is her community. She gives back to her community and we’re all here just having a good time,” said Vauss. “I hope everybody is enjoying their summer. Even today, we have several block parties going on throughout the township, so I’ll be making my appearances throughout the township.”

Brown agreed with Vauss about the many positive events in town that day, but insisted Jones’ event was the place to be.

“I’m participating in the Sandy Jones annual block party and I’m trying to show my support for her efforts to help the community,” said Brown on Saturday, July 28. “Every year, Sandy spends her money to give out food and fun for the kids and the residents and to help her district, and I feel it’s my responsibility to come out and join her and to support her. Team Irvington Strong spirit is neighborhood, community, constituent spirit, so Rasheed was right.”

Irvington Municipal Council Vice President Renee Burgess called Jones’ annual event a “celebration” and urged everyone at her event and the other activities in Irvington that day to “have fun” and “be safe.”

“We’re celebrating good times. We’re having fun,” said Burgess on Saturday, July 28. “It’s Sandy’s birthday and it’s a community cookout. It just worked out that way. I think it’s a good thing. Kill two birds with one stone. Every Saturday, normally, there’s something going on. Summer’s winding down, but Irvington is not. We’re going to keep it going, keep it moving.”

Jones’ son, Scott, wished his mother a happy birthday with “many more to come,” which means many more annual South Ward community cookouts and block parties to come, too.

“I wish my mother a happy birthday,” said Scott on Saturday, July 28. “Seventy-six years and many more.”