The line about being a New York Giants fan tipped off Betsy Anderson.
Haddonfield Mayor Tish Colombi dropped hints Saturday morning to build suspense just before announcing the winner of the 2012 Haddonfield Citizen of the Year award. But the suspense was up for Anderson moments before her name was called.
"About halfway in I figured it had to be me," said Anderson, a retired medical-office manager. "I was absolutely stunned. I love living in this town. There are just so many wonderful people and organizations to work with.
"That's what's great about volunteering. You do the work but you make great friends."
The Citizen of the Year is named annually at the Mayor's Breakfast, a benefit fund-raiser sponsored by the Haddonfield Lions Club. Nearly 100 people turned out Saturday at 9 a.m. for the 40th Annual Mayor's Breakfast. They sat at long tables in the basement of the First Presbyterian Church on a snowy Saturday morning and enjoyed a menu with all the fixings.
Colombi and former mayor Jack Tarditi hosted the two-hour event, trading quips and jokes and keeping the crowd on its toes.
Colombi opened her remarks with a prank.
The long-time borough commissioner announced that "all good things must come to an end," and "after long thought and consultation," and with "Michele Bachmann out of the race and Sarah Palin absent without leave," she had decided to throw her hat in the ring for president of the United States.
Colombi returned to the gag later in her remarks, using her cell phone as a prop. She said she was waiting for a call from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whom she had asked to be her running mate. Her cell phone actually rang on cue near the end of her remarks and Colombi confirmed Christie was onboard. The prank was so convincing that Colombi fired off an email immediately after the breakfast to ensure against reports that she was not running for reelection next year after 26 years on the three-member board of commissioners.
Once the kidding was aside, Colombi ran off a long list Anderson's volunteer efforts, including the Gardening Club, the Friends of Haddonfield Library, the Haddon Fortnightly women's club and heading the annual Holiday House Tour. The house tour contributed $17,000 this year to help a group raising money to refurbish the Haddonfield Memorial High School stage and auditorium. The donation put the group over its $70,000 goal to begin work.
Anderson was still fighting back tears when she reached the podium.
"I am honored," she said. "I can't imagine why it's me. There are so many more deserving people, especially in this room. I don't know where to begin, except to say that I really, really believe in the purpose of volunteering. You give a lot, but you get so much back in return."
The three borough commissioners also give their state of the borough reports at the breakfast. Please look for their remarks tomorrow on Haddonfield Patch.