Tuesday, February 20, 2024

This Year, Be Like Wally

If you had to run to Acme on Route 94 in Blairstown this past Sunday, you may have witnessed a beautiful act of generosity. Wally Waltsak, a Newton resident, was inside paying for 90 turkeys that he plans to donate to people in need for Thanksgiving.

Outside, loading them into waiting pickup trucks, was a crowd of bikers from the Garden State Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) Chapter of Morris County.

“Twenty-five will go to St. Joseph’s in Newton, 25 to Camp Auxiliary and the rest will be brought to ‘Stuff the Bus’ at the ShopRite in Newton,” Waltsak said.

Waltsak started this act of kindness 40 years ago with one turkey.

“I was sitting at home one time, and I felt so guilty having a lot of heat in the house and a lot of food,” he said. “I was thinking about people that didn’t have anything so that day I took one to the church and then it just snowballed ever since.”

The bikers, happy to get Waltsak in front of the camera, downplayed their part in the donation.

“This is all Wally,” said H.O.G. Director Russell Breninger. “We’re just the manpower, he does it all.”

Waltsak spends all year raising money from friends, coworkers and people he happens to meet in order to shop for someone else’s Thanksgiving dinner.

“Some years we’ve had four trucks parked here getting loaded up, with what Wally has raised,” said Breninger.

Waltsak took pictures with a disposal Kodak camera as the bikers packed up his haul. Photos that will never be posted to Facebook, or any social media site, in the hopes of accolades or likes.

“I don’t get online much,” Waltsak said.

He took them just to remember a day spent with friends doing something good for the community. His only goal is to fill the hungry stomachs of his fellow human beings, no “likes” needed.

Cybele Tamulonis
Cybele Tamulonis, Contributing Writer

Cybele is a writer and editor with more than 16 years in the publishing industry. An avid reader, you can usually find her with the latest new book release from the local library. She currently resides on a farm in Hardwick with her husband and four children. In her spare time, she writes historical fiction specific to New Jersey.