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People On The Move: Andrea Mesh
02/10/2009 - By by Kristin Weston
THE GIFT OF GIVING
Nowadays it is hard not to give back to the community or the country as a whole, due to the overwhelming need of our soldiers over in the Middle Eastern countries and Europe, as well as the destruction of the entire city of New Orleans. Long-time resident Andrea Mesh is one of those people who continues to try to help those who are less fortunate or who lack the necessary materials to survive. Her ability, generosity, and empathy have led her to spearhead a volunteer organization called Project S.O.S. (Support our Soldiers) for the town of Marlboro. Project S.O.S is a town organization that accepts donations of funds, materials, and food for our troops fighting in the War on Terror. This particular organization has been up and running for the past two years and has helped our troops tremendously, as well as supported and helped the troops’ families. Some of her other accomplishments include: nominated by the News Transcript as one of the Greater Women of Monmouth County; received a Proclamation from Governor McGreevey; received a Mayor’s Citation; and has had a day dedicated in honor of her called Andrea Mesh Day, which took place on May 14, 2004.
Mesh has been devoting her time and energy to a number of volunteer organizations over a period of years. Her involvement has ranged from helping students at Marlboro High School in the coop program to owning and operating Smith and Baileys, where she managed to enlist vendors who were willing to donate a portion of their funds to the American Cancer Society, as well as organizing a thrift shop with them. Managing both volunteer organizations and her full-time job with her husband Harry as a realtor for Century 21 Mack Morris/Iris Lurie Realtors is not an easy task, but they are, as she would say, "the best possible things she could ever imagine herself doing." Mesh’s overall character and personality define the phrase "what you give is what you get"…and what she gets in return is the satisfaction of being able to help anyone who needs it. Mesh explained that it is almost impossible for her to turn down an opportunity to help others who truly need and deserve it. To best describe Mesh is to say that she is a compassionate person who has incredible strength, endurance, and warmth.
Mesh remembered her reasoning for starting the organization. "I got involved because I saw a need for quality of life items for our servicemen and women. They did their job on the battlefield and I, a concerned citizen, did my job at home. I wanted to show my gratitude and concern for our troops by helping them and giving support to their families at home. I appreciate their service and the sacrifices they are all making," she said. Mesh immediately started her rounds in the town, calling the township and other organizations, hoping that she would be able to help in some way. Her immediacy and eagerness paid off in a big way.
However, in the beginning of this project she and Harry were the only people who were putting in the time and effort to make Project S.O.S. come alive. But soon after, word got out about what this organization was all about. Jack Williams, who is the President of Marlboro’s Improvement and Cultural Fund, stepped in to assist in the effort. Also, articles about the organization ran in the News Transcript and the Asbury Park Press. "S.O.S. is not a one-person job. It isn’t an easy task to get something like this lifted off the ground, but the people of the township were behind me 100% of the way. I am very grateful for their time and support in this matter," she said. Mesh credited Fran Foligno; Jean Cassamassina; Jill Cohen; Marty Kaplan (who organized the Project S.O.S. website); her husband; her son Adam, who is a partner for Prestige Capital of NYC and starred in the NBC reality show "Average Joe"; her daughter Joanna, who is a Senior Financial Analyst at ESPN; Marie Masiello of St. Gabriel’s Church; and everyone else in Project S.O.S for the success of the organization. She concluded by saying to our troops, "You men and women are our heroes. Thank you for giving us the gift of freedom." To contribute or volunteer for Project S.O.S. check out the website at www.projectsos.com.
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