Jerry Andree, Township Manager

Jerry Andree, Township Manager

No level of government has more impact on daily life than local government. That’s why my colleagues and I at Cranberry Township are passionate about pushing the limits of excellence to provide the best possible services to our residents and customers. However, being well-served is not a passive achievement; it is a collective undertaking. Through this blog, we offer our personal reflections on that assignment. And we hope it will help engage you in joining us on that same collaborative mission.

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Jun 17

Memory, mortality, community

Posted on June 17, 2014 at 10:41 AM by Jerry Andree

2014 is my 23rd year as Manager of Cranberry Township.  In the municipal management business, that’s an unusually long run; the average tenure is only around five years. 

It has been an amazing experience.  And it has given me sufficient time to feel the rhythm of our community’s life cycle and to appreciate more deeply the impact that one individual’s life can have on his or her adopted home town.

I found myself reflecting on that recently when my wife and I attended the funeral for Patricia O’Brien. Pat, and her late husband George, did a tremendous amount for this community.  For years, George was Commander of the local VFW post, whose members presented the colors at countless Township events and dedications.

Perhaps the most tangible part of the O’Brien’s legacy was the creation of the Veterans’ Memorial at North Boundary Park.  But the spirit of loyalty, devotion and service they engendered is just as real. 

Pat and George moved to Cranberry Township many years ago and grew to be incredibly proud of their new home town.  The couple attended every Township event and always brought along friends – many of whom were invited from their former community.  And they were never bashful about showing off their pride in Cranberry. 

The memory of the O’Briens put me in mind of so many others who had died before them after years of helping shape Cranberry Township into the community it has become today.  And it reinforced the idea that no one is immortal; each of us is somewhere along in our own finite cycle of life.

At the funeral service, that realization came forcefully to me when I learned that Pat had asked a young man -- someone who was not even born when Pat and George moved to Cranberry – to play and sing at her funeral.  That young man is the son of a Township staff member – someone my wife and I have known since he was a child.
 
His name is Nick Marzock.  He is a rising and nationally recognized musician.  Although he currently lives in New York City, he made a point of returning home to fulfill his promise to Pat.  Nick not only honored Pat, he continued the tradition of love for community and its people that Pat and George and so many before them had demonstrated so brilliantly.

One of the songs Pat requested was “Let There Be Peace.”  Its lyrics, which articulate her final wish, call on all of us to live together in harmony:

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With God as our Father
Brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.


 

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