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Jack "Ol' Dad" Berger Recipient 2003 Brooks Patterson Community Leadership Award

The Cattaraugus County Planning Board's theme for these awards is "People Are Our Greatest Resource". In this spirit, we are pleased to present the Torrance Brooks Community Leadership Award for the Year 2003 to:

Jack "Ol' Dad" Berger

For outstanding leadership in community planning and development for the Onoville Marina Park, the Villages of East Randolph and Randolph, and the Allegany State Park Perimeter Study in Cattaraugus County, New York.

Onoville Marina Park - Jack was elected to the Cattaraugus County Legislature in 1970. He served 10 years as Chairman of the Conservation, Wildlife and Forestry Committee, which was responsible for the construction of the Onoville Marina Park on the Kinzua Reservoir in the Town of South Valley - The Flagship Project of the Cattaraugus County Planning Board. He also was the Legislature's liaison to the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Ellicottville.

Cattaraugus County Planning Board - Jack is a current member of the County Planning Board and has been for 13 plus years. In April 2003, he was appointed by the Cattaraugus County Legislature to the Conewango Watershed Commission. For a short time in the 90's he was a member of the East Randolph Planning Board.

Photographer - Jack was a stringer news photographer for the Buffalo Evening News in the early 50's. He later provided news photographs for the Cattaraugus Times, the Randolph Register and the Salamanca Press. Since 1989 his photojournalism has been confined to the Jamestown Post Journal and the Randolph Register. He also does photos for the Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development, Planning & Tourism and organizations in Randolph and East Randolph.

Driver Education Instructor - Jack is a graduate of the Buffalo State Teacher's College in education and received his Master's degree from New York University. His 32-year teaching career began in 1949 as a driver education instructor in the early Shared Services Program between Cattaraugus and Randolph Central Schools. He was one of the original nine teachers in the BOCES system in Cattaraugus County. In the mid-sixties, Jack was a full-time teacher at Randolph Central School. He was a member of the late Governor Harriman's Traffic Safety Committee and editor of the statewide driver education newsletter, Front View, for many years.

Charter Coach Driver - For 19 summers Ol' Dad drove cross-country charter coach for Blue Bird Coach Lines, traveling with such notables as singer Connie Stevens, Jane Fonda, the Buffalo Bills and pro basketball teams.

Military Service - Jack's military service began in the US Signal Corps attached to the Air Force, later transferring to the 310th Army Service Force's Band in Casablanca where, still attached to the Air Force, he spent nearly four years in Africa and Italy. He played trombone in a 27 piece regimental band that entertained the wounded in field hospitals, protocol for dignitaries at airports, arrival and departing troopships, area USO shows as well as concerts for civilian groups. At home, Jack played semi-professionally for 12 years throughout western New York with the late Art Dedrick's big band.

Memberships - Jack is a member of the Randolph United Presbyterian Church; the National Press Photographer's Association; Randolph Masonic Lodge No. 359; Randolph Lions Club; Randolph Grange 78; Randolph American Legion Post 181; Randolph VFW Post 6533; the Cattaraugus County Retired Teacher's Association; and the East Randolph Volunteer Fire Company. He is an honorary member of the Randolph and Coldspring Volunteer Fire Companies.

Family - Jack and Noralyn, married 53 years, have two daughters, Diane Hennessy of West Palm Beach, Florida and Carol Wellman of Louisville, Kentucky and one son, Duane Berger of Ashland, Virginia. Jack has two brothers, Warren of Boston, NY and Roger of Albany, Oregon, and one sister, Jean of Setauket, NY.

Congratulations, Ol' Dad!