Barnegat Committeeman Albert Bille Gets a Big Birthday Surprise

Mar 07, 2018
Courtesy of: Albert Bille

Albert Bille, a former Barnegat Township mayor and current township committeeman, recently spoke at the Lillian M. Dunfee Elementary School as part of the school’s BUILD (Building Unity and Inspiring Leadership at Dunfee) program.

“I was asked to speak about leadership, my mayoral experience and serving our community,” said Bille, who served as mayor in 2017. “I gave examples of leadership, honesty and respect for others.”

But then at the program’s conclusion, Bille got a huge surprise. The students had been told that the following day was going to be his birthday. He received 266 handmade birthday cards from the students who were going to attend the assembly.

“To say the least, I was overwhelmed,” he said.

Kathy Makela, Dunfee principal, said that in keeping with the school’s theme of Building a Better World, parent Laura Zinger was inspired to create BUILD with the help of guidance counselor Michele Cucinotta.

“The goal is to help bring awareness of community to our students,” said Makela. “As part of being a member of a community, it is important to know about the people that live there and the jobs they perform. His program not only brings the school and community together, but allows students to meet and ask questions of their community members in an assembly-type format. It also forges a bond between community members and students and helps develop characteristics of caring, compassionate citizens. Our community guests will serve as role models and help students learn about various occupations as well as civic leadership positions that students could pursue in future years.”

Aside from Bille, other speakers have included Michael Hess, physician assistant; Mike Metzler, Barnegat volunteer firefighter; Robert Geddes, Barnegat Township Board of Education vice president; Jim Purcell, Barnegat Township police officer; Kate Irving, Fulfill Development coordinator; Sgts. Daria Mammem and Kendra Carvalho, N.J. State Police; and Judge Phillip Miller, Barnegat Municipal Court.

“I really didn’t speak too much, but I took questions,” said Bille. “One thing I wanted to point out was that how we got Project Playground up and running again and repaired the pocket parks, and the kids were very thankful for that.” 

— Eric Englund

(Courtesy of: Albert Bille)
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