helped the Morristown High School Marching Band marching band acquire and rehab a fleet of vehicles.Here he
polishes a spot on the pit crew car.
, longtime Morristown resident, has been described by the people who have had the pleasure of working with him over the years, in his
many careers and volunteer endeavors, as a colorful, humorous, dynamic, creative person who is generous of spirit and resources.That is just the tip of the iceberg.James Galbraith, former Morristown High School principal and also former chairman of the science department, called Schechner "a really creative person with an incredible sense of humor.
section for a particular class we were doing was the human circulatory system.He
showed up to teach 105 students in white long johns with all of the veins and arteries of the body drawn onto it."What student could forget that lesson?"
"Teaching biology at Morristown High School
was one of the most rewarding jobs I have had," Schechner
said of his
nine-year teaching career."I've enjoyed a love affair with biology all my life, and I love working with kids."
>Schechner is definitely the kind of guy who likes to get involved.At age 64, a survivor of colon cancer, he has become an advocate for cancer victims nationally.
Volunteerism is not new to Schechner
was 18 years old he
volunteered at the Kessler Rehabilitation Institute doing errands for the patients.That experience helped shape his
very active volunteer career.
In 1985, when Schechner's youngest daughter, Heather, joined Morristown High School's marching band, he
volunteered for the pit crew.
The pit crew is made up of the parents of the marching band students.They are the vital force that provides support for the band by moving around all of the band implements and equipment, mostly the oversize pieces such as the xylophone and timpani.Also, don't forget the refreshments they provide to the bands, particularly when it is cold or rainy.Hot cocoa and hot coffee at halftime on a cold, windy football field can be life sustaining.For nearly 20 years, Schechner, the owner of Limousine Service of Morris County in Morristown, has had connections in the world of vehicles and mechanics that enabled him to buy and rehab various vehicles for the marching band.
Very often the initial cost of a vehicle was a dollar."Thanks to Bob, we now have a fleet of band vehicles," said Mike Russo, Morristown High School music director.
has a heart of gold," Russo said.
, that meant getting involved.He
is a dedicated man who does everything with the full force of his
being.He began his volunteer career with the American Cancer Society in Morris County by contacting the Parsippany Unit North West Region of the society.Schechner
, as owner of a limo service, needless to say, liked to drive.So drive he
personal time in the Road to Recovery Program, driving radiation and chemo patients to the hospital for their treatments for the next five years.
In November 2000, Schechner
became a support volunteer (someone who is matched one-on-one with newly diagnosed cancer patients) for Cancer Hope Network.The network newsletter said, "He
came into the training class with a handful of 'smiles on a stick' (literally, a smiling mouth made of cardboard that is attached to a tongue depressor), which he
gives to people who have very little to smile about after being diagnosed with cancer."This is his
way of saying that he
knows how tough it is and he
really cares.Schechner became more deeply involved when he became an advocate for the American Cancer Society.
chaired the 2004 Morristown Relay for Life.It is a community based fundraising and bonding event.The event, while different in every community, brings people together whose lives have been touched by cancer.It is always held on a field with a track for the actual relay.
"The first time out we raised $172,000 to fund awareness programs, research for a cure, and to help make the experience less painful," Schechner
said of his
involvement with Relay for Life.
The experience of spending 24 hours with other cancer survivors and their families, "passing the torch of hope," was so touching to Schechner
that it made him want to do more as an advocate.He
testified in Washington five times, lobbying Congress about what constituents want in the way of cancer care.Robin Albers, American Cancer Society executive vice president of the Northwest New Jersey Region, can't bestow enough accolades on Schechner:
In 2005, Albers said, "Bob
was instrumental in lobbying for the Clean Indoor Air Act, creating a smoke free workplace."
...Schechner became a Community Ambassador to Celebration on the Hill.
This event takes place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., each year in mid-September.Thousands of cancer survivors and their families conduct a relay around the reflection pool.The ambassadors meet with their congressmen, lobbying for increased awareness and funding for a cure.
efforts as an advocate, on Sept. 20, while Schechner
is lobbying at Celebration on the Hill, New Jersey Monthly magazine
will present him with the Seeds of Hope Award.
...Schechner was appointed to the American Cancer Society Regional Board in 2006.He
speaks to any group that will listen to him on cancer awareness.He
often shows up dressed as a polyp to make his
point about colorectal prescreening.
Not to overlook any community program in need of a volunteer, he
has become active this past year in the local Kiwanis Club
, helping to spruce up the Mount Kemble Home spring and fall, and raising funds for scholarships for Morristown High School students and also funding Plaid House, a residential home for adolescents in need.
Since the early '80s Schechner
wife of nearly forty years, Carla, have been cooking soup for the Community Soup Kitchen in Morristown.
Schechner plans to fully retire in 2007 with his
wife to North Carolina to live a little closer to their daughter Stephanie and her
will be sorely missed by the community of people he
has been involved with all these years.
Galbraith summed it up: "Bob
has a feeling for people that is quite unique.