2018-10-04 / Columnists

Babylon News & Muse

Today’s column is about one of the people best known by residents for his service in the Village for 50 years. How Skip (Charles) Gardner has managed to do so much and gain the respect of so many is no mystery to me, because he has never adhered to a 40-hour work week. Living across the street from Village Hall, I have probably seen more evidence of the long hours he puts in more than anyone else.

On a night when the weather is acting up, he goes home late, only to re-appear on the scene a few hours later, at 3 or 4 a.m. to take care of situations such as flooding or heavy snow.

He can handle every piece of equipment that the Village owns, and does so on a regular basis. Fortunately, Skip Gardner has also put together a top-notch team to make sure that both the Highway and Sanitation departments are headed up by experienced and dedicated supervisors.

I first came to know Skip when he worked as a code enforcement officer. In that position, Skip worked with my father, the late Frank J. Gallagher, who served as Babylon’s Justice from 1966 until his death in 1991. My father respected Skip’s work ethic and, I think, came to look upon him as a son. More often than not, you would find the two of them lunching together at Glen’s Dinette.

Top photo, right, honoree Skip Gardner with his wife and sons at the event. Above, Gardner with officials who attended the event on Sept. 15. Top photo, right, honoree Skip Gardner with his wife and sons at the event. Above, Gardner with officials who attended the event on Sept. 15. Over the years Skip worked his way up to be the Superintendent of Highways and Sanitation. He has served in that position for many years, and excelled at it.

Skip’s family has been in Babylon for many generations and has always supported the Village enthusiastically. But I doubt that any of his ancestors have put in the hours that Skip has.

When one has a problem with anything to do with the Village as a physical entity, Skip probably has a hand in taking care of it. I think that he probably knows more about the Village and how it’s grown than any of us.

If you want to know where there are underground streams or other hidden features, ask Skip.

Frankly, I hope that when Skip retires, he will be offered some sort of position as a consultant to the Village because there are so many things about the Village physically that he may be the only person to recall simply by virtue of his life in Babylon.

Skip also has a rich personal life, too. He and his lovely wife Marie have two sons, Christopher and Brandon. In spite of his long hours with the Village, Skip was a very hands-on father as his boys were growing up, teaching his sons how to handle all things mechanical, including boats. As a result, both boys attended the Merchant Marine Academy and now serve as merchant seamen.

You’ve heard of “boys and their toys?” Well, Skip and his sons, along with Marie, have had so many different recreational-type vehicles over the years it has amazed me.

Skip and Marie have also instilled in both young men his strong work ethic. I hope that the boys will settle in Babylon to continue the Gardner heritage.

Skip has also served as a member of the Babylon Fire Department for many decades.

This article will probably annoy Skip a bit. It has been my observation that Mr. Gardner, while not shy, is a very modest man and hates to be made a fuss of… When he retires, I doubt that he will allow a big retirement party.

However, Mayor Ralph Scordino and the Board of Trustees recently celebrated Skip’s 50th anniversary working for the Village with a special gathering on Sept. 15 at Village Hall. Scores of people came to thank Skip for all he has done for us, and while he was reluctant to be honored this way, he admitted to me that he enjoyed it.

Most of us have come to love Babylon, but I doubt there is anyone who has worked harder to make Babylon the special place it is today.

Send your local news for inclusion in this column to News and Muse, c/o Babylon Beacon, 65 Deer Park Ave., Babylon NY 11702 or email Mary Gallagher at acjnews@rcn.com. Put News and Muse into the subject line.

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