By Janet Redyke
“Live with an attitude of gratitude.”
This motto has become a way of life for newly elected Sussex County Senior of the Year Judy Storms of Vernon.
Five finalists vied for the honor but the unexpected, thrilled and definitely surprised Storms was announced as the winner on Thursday Aug. 8 in the senior tent at the NJ State Fair/ Sussex County Farm and Horse Show. Nominated by fellow Vernonite Doreen Edwards, Storms has an impressive list of volunteerism spanning her lifetime.
A retired Vernon Township teacher, Storms was active in volunteering and encouraging her students to volunteer during her career. She actively volunteered with both the Girl and Boy Scouts, the Vernon Historical Society, Vernon Ambulance Squad, the Sheriff’s Department, the Salvation Army, DASI, Rottweiler Rescue, the Puppies Behind Bars program, and Storms was a volunteer during three devastating hurricanes- Irene, Ike and Katrina.
Storms is active at the Vernon Methodist Church food pantry, the Vernon Senior Center, Father John’s Animal Shelter as a dog walker, Meals on Wheels and the Vernon Dog Park. Storms’ dog Jack is a certified therapy dog and the team visits Barn Hill Nursing Home and starting in September, they will visit assisted living and rehab centers. Even when Storms leaves the Sussex County area to visit her daughter in Virginia, she tutors in an elementary school there and volunteers by feeding the homeless in Franklin Park in Washington, DC.
A happy, smiling Storms graciously accepted a plaque and certificates of achievement from several county officials. She also was presented an American flag which flew over the Capitol.
Nicknamed Bubbles by her grandchildren, the bubbly Storms acclaimed, “That’s how I have always lived my life (volunteerism).
“Why am I getting an award?”