Press-Republican

July 29, 2013

Couple crowned for volunteerism, dedication

JAVIER SIMON
Press-Republican

CHAZY — After decades of community service, a local couple got recognition worthy of royalty.

George and Janet Brendler were crowned king and queen as part of the traditional Chazy Old Home Day celebration.

The Brendlers settled in the Town of Chazy 48 years ago. On Sunday, a clear sky and bright sun shone over the Chazy Recreation Park as they sat on white chairs before familiar faces. They wore big smiles as the ceremonial red and gold crowns were set on their heads.

SOCCER COACH

The Chazy Lions Club, which hosts Old Home Day, chose the Brendlers as this year’s royalty based on their community-service efforts.

“I believe many people who came before me were a lot more deserving of this, so I am honored,” Janet said.

Their daughter, Liz Tedford, was ecstatic, as well.

“It’s nice to see them get recognized for their service and dedication to their community,” she said.

George, a longtime physical education teacher at Chazy Central Rural School before his retirement, spent decades serving the youth of Chazy.

He is legendary in the region for his many years as boys’ soccer coach; a playing field now bears his name.

George also ran the American Red Cross swimming program at the school, as well.

RETIRED NURSE

Janet’s expertise lies in the field of nursing. 

The retired couple does not think price tags or luxury when doing what they do. 

As volunteers for the Alice T. Miner Colonial Collection museum, they’ve spent years giving tours, keeping records and looking after artifacts. 

Janet is a member of the Friends of Chazy Public Library, and George serves as president of its Board of Trustees.

MET IN MARYLAND

George and Janet both were born in 1934, and World War II played a role in shaping who they would become. 

George was born in New York City. At age 2, he moved with his father to Hungary, where he was stuck during and after World War II. 

Janet spent many years moving with her father, a U.S. Army colonel who served in the Pacific during the war.

George returned to New York in 1947 and was sworn into the Army at the end of his time in high school. 

The Army took him to Germany, where he was stationed and may have discovered his passion for soccer. 

In the Army’s attempt to improve bonds between Americans and natives there, they decided to have battalion members travel to different posts for soccer games. 

George said he played alongside a retired British soccer player who participated in the 1936 Olympics, held in Germany.

After his assignment overseas, George studied physical education at Springfield College in Massachusetts. At the time, Janet worked as a nurse at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. George moved to Maryland’s Fort Meade. Eventually, a mutual friend brought them together.

“We hit it off great because she had a great respect for the military, as her father was a colonel in the Army,” George said.

MANY HOMES

The couple called numerous places home until settling in Chazy. 

Their line of work took them to Vermont. They continued moving, residing in both rural and urban areas, but decided the latter was not going to work out as great. 

Finally, they decided to stick to the scenic forest and lakeside surroundings of the North Country in Chazy, where their fourth child was born. 

Their son John is convinced they made the right decision. 

“It was great growing up in a small town,” he said. “You learn trust, humility and a certain set of values.”

Along with Liz and John, the Brendler offspring are Joe and Steve.

Through their work, George and Janet developed lasting relationships with people whom decades ago they had called their new neighbors. 

Even people who participated in George’s swimming program as kids were present at the Old Home Day event.

“It’s always hard for George to walk through the crowd, since he has to say hi to everyone,” Janet said with a smile.

OLD HOME DAY

Chazy Old Home Day is an outdoor event held annually. 

In the spirit of community service, many local fundraisers for causes such as breast-cancer awareness and public libraries set up booths in the Rec Park.

They provide literature, sell raffle tickets and collect donations. This year, local Girl Scouts organized games for children with prizes including goldfish. 

Children also had access to bouncy houses and a playground. Volleyball nets were set up for older youth. 

Car enthusiasts also attended to show off vehicles such as a ‘60s Chevy Heartwood station wagon as part of the event’s car show. Those with empty stomachs were greeted by food concessions selling goods such as burgers, hot dogs and French fries.