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Two to be honored by YMCA

May 22, 2016 | Community News and Media, Media Coverage

Originally posted on

by Cheryl Makin

Bill Lovett and Mickey Gross named winners of prestigious awards

Two community members are set to be honored at the 2016 Annual Dinner Meeting of the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, and Woodbridge and South Amboy in May. William “Bill” Lovett and Michael “Mickey” Gross were named the recipients of two prestigious awards — the Charles S. Edgar Memorial Award and the Peter J. Barnes, Jr. Community Champion Award, respectively.

For his outstanding work with the YMCA and the community, Lovett, currently the Executive Director of the New Jersey Alliance for YMCA’s, will receive the Charles S. Edgar Memorial Award. The Alliance is a not-for-profit association made up of 37 YMCA’s from throughout the state. Prior to this position, Lovett was the CEO of the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge and South Amboy from 1988 until his retirement in 2012.

According to the YMCA, the Charles S. Edgar Award recipient is a person who demonstrates leadership and is of the highest personal integrity, has greatly served the youth of the community, exemplifies community spirit at its best, has contributed to the community through a variety of organizations and in a variety of roles.

This person also is responsive to and interested in the work of the YMCA, has a record of long-term service, is recognized for his or her individual efforts, not on behalf of a group and lastly, whose acceptance will enrich the tradition of the Charles S. Edgar Memorial Award.

By his record, Lovett embodies all of the award’s qualifications.

In addition to many successful projects to expand the reach of the YMCA during his tenure, Lovett played an important and active role in the National YMCA Movement as he served on the YMCA of the USA Board of Directors and  was President of the New Jersey Alliance of YMCA’s. Lovett’s legacy also included positively impacting the community outside his CEO role when he led a number of community initiatives including the establishment of wellness programs outside the walls of the YMCA buildings, such as the Student Fitness Center at Metuchen High School. He also gave leadership to the community when establishing the Metuchen Freedom Plaza, a memorial to state residents who died on 9/11.

Lovett worked with the Metuchen Board of Education to institute programs such as the Metuchen High School STAR Awards and Project Graduation. His collaborations with area churches included the organization of six child care programs and the Martin Luther King Breakfast, which brought people together to celebrate the life of Dr. King and featured an essay contest for students focusing on civic responsibility.

Lovett also was a member of the Livestrong/Lance Armstrong Foundation National Collaborative and Chairman of the Public Policy for the NJ Alliance of YMCA’s and Chairman of the Garden State Executive Network. He is the State Program Director of the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and leads the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network.

For his outstanding leadership and contribution to the YMCA and the community as a whole, Gross will be presented with the YMCA Peter J. Barnes Jr. Community Champion Award.

The Peter J. Barnes, Jr. Community Champion Award recipient is a person who has a legacy of community service, is responsive to and interested in the work of the YMCA as part of a demonstrated long-term commitment to furthering the greater good of the communities in which we serve. That person also serves as an example for others of leadership, integrity and the core values of the YMCA — caring, honesty, respect, responsibility as well as demonstrates a character that is beyond reproach and who consistently exemplifies the highest standards of community service and whose acceptance will enrich the tradition of the YMCA Community Champion Award.

A resident of South Amboy for over 30 years, Gross is the head of the Environmental Division of the Middlesex County Health Department, which oversees twenty-five municipalities. He serves as Chairman to the New Jersey Public Health Council, appointed by Governor Codey in 2005, and is a member of the New Jersey Hospital Planning Board. During his tenure as a member of the Public Health Council, Gross was the board member who made a motion for stronger immunization reform for all children enrolled in school, which was approved and now is a state law.

Gross has been active in South Amboy since he and his wife Susan moved there in 1985. Some of the highlights of his volunteerism include assisting with South Amboy Little League, Vice President of the St. Mary’s Athletic Association for seven years, and for more than 20 years with his wife, serving as board members of the Mavis Music Association of the Visually Impaired, an organization that provides musical equipment and lessons to the blind who have a desire to learn how to play musical instruments.

He has been a board member of the Frog Hollow Swim Club for more than 15 years and served for one year as President. During his years at Frog Hollow, he chaired 5 Mile and 5K runs to raise funds for the South Amboy First Aid Squad and Fire Department. Gross was a member of the South Amboy Zoning Board for numerous years before being voted “Councilman at Large.” For the last two years, he has held the title as Council President and organized countless fundraisers within South Amboy.

Lovett and Gross will be honored at the 2016 Annual Dinner Meeting of the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge, and South Amboy on at 6 p.m. May 4 at the Pines Manor in Edison. The cost is $65. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Jeanine Costa, Association Advancement Assistant at 732-516-2083 or

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