CARTERET–On Saturday, Oct. 23, Mayor Dan Reiman joined with the Borough Council and residents to dedicate the town’s park at Pershing and Essex Avenue to Dr. Bishop Willard K. Andrews, a beloved minister during his life in Carteret, as well as a World War II hero and community activist.
The Mayor and Council unveiled pending repairs and upgrades to the 4.6 acre park, and a range of broader improvements that will include $1.2 million in street repair and aesthetic enhancements along Lower Roosevelt Avenue.
“We have an extremely athletic community,” Councilman and Parks Commissioner Vinny Bellino stated, “but until recently, a limited number of facilities for organized sports. That Chrome Park was in need of attention goes without saying, but the addition of new and better athletic resources will have a lasting benefit for athletes of all ages.”
According to the Carteret Department of Engineering, preliminary plans for park improvements include:
- Two youth soccer fields to be installed on the north end of the park, consisting of a U-10 and U-8 soccer field.
- Several paved pathways throughout the park to be replaced with new barrier-free ones that will provide ADA-compliant pedestrian areas throughout the park.
- Concrete sidewalk around the perimeter of the park to be replaced for ADA compliance and to eliminate hazards and damage from trees.
- New site amenities throughout the park, including new park benches and picnic tables.
- The existing Tot Lot to receive upgrades to eliminate drainage issues and to provide a safety surface for kids.
- The older broken and unsafe pieces of playground equipment to be removed and new pieces installed, including a new slide and new spring riding equipment (a police car and fire truck).
The park’s namesake, Dr. Bishop Willard K. Andrews was born on July 11, 1920 to Columbus and Gracie Lee Andrews in Lightwood, Alabama. He attended public school then volunteered for the Armed Services during World War II, serving with the 375th Engineer Division. He served with distinction from August 8, 1942, until December 9, 1945, when he received an honorable discharge for gunshot wounds and a loss of sight sustained during service, earning the EAMETO, APTO, and the World War II medals. Willard returned to the states and worked as a farmer until he relocated to Vauxhall, New Jersey, in 1947, finding employment with the Elastic Shop – Nut Company. Willard Andrews was joined the ministry in 1950 as an Elder with the True Holiness Pentecostal Church of Vaux Hall. In 1954 he graduated from the Christ Bible Institute where he received theological training, and soon after founded and ministered the Revival Center Church.
He was ordained a Bishop in 1958, and to the Apostleship in 1968. In 1965 Dr. Bishop Willard K. Andrews married Nobie Lee Tharington, a union that bore 4 sons, Willard David, Michael Wiley, Daniel C., and Jason Justin Andrews. In addition to his ecclesiastical services, Dr. Andrews demonstrated an unwavering commitment to his community with charitable organizations that provided counseling, shelter accommodations and food and clothing to those in need. Dr. Andrews was a Housing Authority Commissioner and founder of the Revival Center Church on Edwin Street. He died on October 20, 1994.
“Dr. Andrews was an inspiration to his peers and the community,” Reiman said, “He went to great lengths while serving his country and in making life better for less fortunate residents, particularly in the neighborhood of Chrome. His name has endured through subsequent generations in lieu of his charitable work, and will continue to through this dedication of ‘Dr. Bishop Willard K. Andrews Park.’”
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