Andrew Feintuch

On February 1st, 1972, a young gentleman started his first day of work in the Hasbrouck Heights Municipal building. This gentleman was energetic, conscientious, knowledgeable and was the first and only Director of Recreation for Hasbrouck Heights. His name is Andrew Feintuch. Andrew still comes into his office with the same enthusiasm he had in 1972. Andrew is celebrating his 27th year as the Director of Recreation. When Andy started he was introduced to two very active civic leaders, Dr. Burnett Eglow, from the Board of Education, and Rose Heck, the editor of the Observer. He expressed to them that his goals were to provide enjoyable and safe programs for the residents of Hasbrouck Heights. And over the past 27 years, he has not only achieved his goals but surpassed them.

Over the years, Andy has instituted hundreds upon hundreds of programs which range in age from three to ninety. Andy has made the Hasbrouck Heights Recreation Department one of the finest in the state and he is regarded as one on the finest recreation administrators in the country. Andrew, who is sometimes very modest, has always maintained that any personal accolades that he has received is due in great part to the borough of Hasbrouck Heights. When anyone talks about the Hasbrouck Heights Recreation Department, the word awards becomes synonymous. Andrew has won the following individual awards: Bergen County Executive's Lifetime Achievement Award, Bergen County Recreation Administrator of the Year, Bergen County YMCA Service to Youth Award, Bergen County's Profiles in Courage Lifetime Achievement Award, Bergen County Coaches Association Distinguished Achievement Award, Hasbrouck Heights Citizen of the Year Award, Volunteer Service Award and the Ben Shaeffer Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, Mayor William Torre and the Council declared August 6, 1996 , Andrew Feintuch Day to celebrate all of Andy's accomplishments.

Over the years, Andrew Feintuch and the Recreation Department have also won nineteen first place programming awards in Bergen County. These awards were in such categories as: Senior Citizen Programming, Special Events, Educational Programming, Innovative Programming, Anti Drug Programming and Excellence in Community Recreation Programming .

Andrew has dedicated his adult life to the betterment of Hasbrouck Heights and has been a pillar in the community since he began work in the borough in 1972. He has been president for several years of the Hasbrouck Heights Men's Association, Chairman of the Hasbrouck Heights Anti-Drug Council, committee member of the Steven Bizik Memorial Golf Tournament, committee member of various scholarships, Chairman of the Men's Association's Wrestling Tournaments since their existence, committee member of the Men's Association Citizen of the Year Dinners and Master of Ceremonies and served on various civic projects including his public weight loss program in which people pledged money per pound where all proceeds went to anti drug programs. In fact, a large picture of Andy and his weight loss was displayed during that period in DiPisa's Pharmacy on the Boulevard.

Starting in the seventies, Andy instituted such programs as Drive In Movies, concerts, town wide tennis tournaments, ballet, arts and crafts, self defense, youth touch football, pet days, horseback riding, senior citizens' morning game activities, mommy and me programs, ping pong tournaments, softball clinics, tennis classes, cheering clinics, baton twirling clinics, Santa Claus phone calls, girls softball, girls basketball, boys basketball, street hockey league, various adult programs, baseball card trading, chess and gong shows. In addition Andy organized the first ever Recreation Department vs. the Police Department softball game to provide camaraderie with the two departments, he also led the Recreation department staff in a winning effort against the WNEW-FM Allstars for charity. In the early seventies, Andy instituted the very first junior wrestling team which has gone on to win thousands of medals over the part years. Over the past 27 years, Andy has added numerous quality recreation programs that have expanded over the years in size and length. Programs such as biddy basketball which has grown from 35 participants to 135, wrestling which has grown from 15 to 70 wrestlers in its peak year, girls softball from 15 players to now 120 players and was expanded this year to include second, third and fourth graders in addition to the fifth through eighth grade softball league, summer camp program from 100 campers to 300 campers, the Santa Claus telephone calls which has gone from 15 to 110 this past year.

In the summer of 1972, the recreation department held its first summer playground program. Approximately 100 children attended and it went from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. It included daily activities and four trips. Mr. Feintuch, to meet the needs of the residents, has made camp Rec Trec, which is the summer camp program, into a full time extravaganza. The program now runs from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and includes daily playground activities, 12 full day trips, 12 theme days, other special events and accommodates over three hundred children per summer. This year Andy has added a hot lunch program for the children. This year has been a banner year for Mr. Feintuch and the Recreation department. Mr Feintuch has always tried to add quality programs for both boys and girls as well as adults and this year they can enjoy such programs as summer camp, aerobics for teenage girls, adults and seniors, adult basketball, adult volleyball, fitness center, wrestling, boys biddy basketball, girls biddy basketball, girls softball, girls softball traveling team, softball clinics, Halloween in the Park, Senior Citizen Arts and Crafts, trips, self defense, tennis, Senior Citizens Olympics, various shows and so much more.

Mr. Feintuch acknowledged the great support that he has received from the different Mayors and Councils, the various members of the recreation commission and the residents of Hasbrouck Heights, who have always been supportive over the years. Andy has worked under three Mayors, who have all spoken highly of him and his accomplishments. In 1978, Mayor William Imken stated, "Andy is a leader in the field of recreation and we are so happy that he is part of Hasbrouck Heights", Mayor William Torre, at Andy Feintuch Day, stated,"Andy is an icon of Hasbrouck Heights and is one of the most dedicated and loyal employees a town could ever have and we hope that Andy will stay with us for another twenty five years." Former Mayor and State Assemblywoman Rose Heck said at the Bergen County Parks Department Dinner this past February, "Andy is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to Hasbrouck Heights, I knew him at the age of twenty one and he is the same considerate, energetic, devoted person as he was then. He has helped thousands of children and adults and never says no to anything." Andy has worked under three chairmen of the Recreation Commission, they are Don Loesch, whose commission in 1972, appointed Andrew as the Director of Recreation, then Jerry Morano and Richard Tort. During Andy's past 27 years he has seen six presidents of the United States and has received letters of commendation from the White House including Presidents Reagan and Clinton. He has also received numerous commendations from the United States Senate, New Jersey State Senate and New Jersey State Assembly.

Mr. Feintuch, as a true recreation professional, always has felt that he should give back to his profession. He is very active in the New Jersey Recreation and Parks Association serving as chairman of District I, which covers Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties, member of the Statewide Administrative Council, committee member of the Anti Drug committee, Leisure Times, public relations, state awards, scholarships and state nominations. Mr. Feintuch has also served as president of the Twin County Junior Wrestling League, for the past twenty years, and also has served for six years as the New Jersey Wrestling Federation's Childrens Division Chairman.

Andy has also given some of his time to his hometown of Elmwood Park, where he still holds the prestige honor of being the youngest elected official in the history of that town, when he was elected to the Board of Education at age 21. He is also currently the Vice Chairman of the Elmwood Park Board of Health, and a member of the Elmwood Park Hall of Fame Committee.

Many of the current recreation department employees under Mr. Feintuch have come through his various programs as children. A story that Andy tells very fondly is that of the former Nancy Baker and Peter McCrystal who participated in recreation programs, then served as counselors in the summer camp program, where they met. Nancy and Pete ended up getting married and Andy attended the wedding. Their children now are involved in many of the recreation department programs.

Andy was recently quoted as saying, "I feel honored to be the Director of Recreation for such a great community and am looking forward to providing even more quality programs into the next millennium."

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