Fred C. Gardner Sr., receives ANEFO Recognition – June 27, 2016

Fred.GardnerFred C. Gardner Sr., received a special presentation from Don Werner, President of the ANEFO, at the association’s first meeting of the season on Monday, June 27, 2016.  Fred has enjoyed being a football official for sixty-five consecutive years.  Over the decades, Fred has served, and continues to serve, as role-model for countless student-athletes, coaches, and officials.  He started his officiating career in 1951, and is still active in the ANEFO.  He was President of the ANEFO in 1977.  Fred’s long-time friend and former fellow official Larry Keough, a special guest at the meeting, spoke on his behalf.  Larry explained that when Fred started to officiate football, there was no Heisman Trophy, since it was first issued after Fred was born.  Likewise, there was no NBA, and the cost of living was much less than it is today.  A new house cost under $16,000 when Fred blew is first whistle; a car was a little over a thousand dollars, milk was 92 cents a gallon, gasoline was 20 cents a gallon, bread was 16 cents, and a six-pack of Coke was 37 cents.  Fred spent his officiating income wisely.  Larry went on to share stories of how Fred and he would celebrate after a game at Joe’s All-American Bar in Woburn.  Fred would order fish, sweet potatoes, coleslaw, bread pudding followed by strong drinks, a cigar, and black coffee; this diet has convincingly attributed to his healthy longevity.  Fred’s family was present, and they were acknowledged.  President Werner presented Fred with an ANEFO white hat, an ANEFO polo shirt, and a special trophy with a statue or likeness of Norm Rockwell’s famous “Coin Toss” painting attached to the apex of the award. This figurine is a small, diminutive statue of a football official, in Fred’s image, standing between two football captains at the coin toss.  The presentation was capped off with a citation from the Massachusetts General Court.  Steven Ultrino, both an ANEFO Official and Massachusetts State Representative from the 33rd Middlesex District (Malden), in conjunction with Representatives Theodore Speliotis and Thomas Walsh from the 13th Essex District (Peabody), read aloud the special legislative citation honoring Fred Gardner.  Over 350 officials stood and cheered the beloved football official as he accepted the award and greeted the organization!

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