Some people define their life by one accomplishment. Whether it’s scoring 4 touchdowns in a high school football game or making an Olympic team they relive their past glory as a distraction from future accomplishments. However, great men are defined by their lifelong actions. My father was a great man who can best be described as a community man. Regardless, if you knew him as a child, during his service in the Korean War, his 51 years in the liquor industry, or since he moved to Seabrook Village, the one thing you knew about Ed Salvage was that he cared for and supported the people around him. He received more honors and awards that we have time to announce, but it was the quiet accomplishments that shine the brightest.
While Ed would tout his years in the Air Force as defining himself, there was much more to him than just his military training. For my entire life he was actively involved in making the world a better place. Ed had a way of rallying people to a cause. He was a master at motivating people to band together for a common goal. Ed actively raised money as a leader of the 50 Club with most of the proceeds benefiting challenged children at the ARC house. Year after year he would organize events like their golf outing that helped the less fortunate. He was incredibly skillful at delegating tasks. With a fastidious attention to detail, he would plan out every aspect of an event and track it with a precise efficiency. No one was safe from helping out.
When Ed moved to Seabrook, he didn’t retire, he simply shifted careers. Quickly, he became actively involved in the community using his charm and skills to become Vice President of the RAC and improve the well-being of all Seabrook residents. He took great pride in his accomplishments. However, I am most proud of his efforts for those that defended our freedoms, the veterans. Commander Salvage lead volunteers to raise money, provide support, and even entertainment through the Jewish War Veterans for all veterans. Whether it was something as simple as providing sweat pants for veterans in the hospital or taking vets to a ball game Ed was there organizing it all. I am sure it will come as no surprise that even as he sat in his hospital bed his major concern was the logistics of the Memorial weekend poppy sale to raise money for the Vets.
In many ways Ed was a simple man who took pleasure in simple joys. No one can deny his passion for a great meal. Whether it was a Peter Lugar’s steak or simply a well-done set of hash browns Ed rejoiced in culinary delights. His doctor would call his belly the corporation that kept growing. He took pride in it like a power-lifter would pride his muscles. Ed had a love for classic movies like Gunga Dinn and much to the dismay of those who shared a house with him loudly played old-time jazz music. However, if you really wanted to get Ed talking, just ask what happened in last night’s New York Metropolitans game. With the innocence of a little boy, every spring he would tout their new young arms and veteran acquisitions. By the summer heat of June and July he was already looking to next year’s hopefuls. Such is the life of a Mets fan. Just to spite him the Mets are thriving this year.
Todays’ children might say my dad was a horrible father. He gave me everything I needed, not everything I wanted. I was never hungry, lacked a shirt on my back, or went to school without the supplies I needed. He taught me the value of a dollar and more importantly how to earn one. While there wasn’t money for every desire, he somehow scraped together enough to pay for me to go to college. Between my jobs and his hard effort I graduated debt free. What better head start could a father give a child? I credit him with helping me become the man I am. He’s inspired me to give back to the community, to have a strong work ethic, and to rally those around me to help those in need. Perhaps we need more parents like my father to mold the instant gratification youth of today.
Ed Salvage will be fondly remembered and sadly missed by his friends and surviving family wife Sheila, daughter Beth, grandchildren Ally and Justin, and cousin Faithy. I know he valued his years here at Seabrook and the incredibly large extended family that you all became. Our family has been stopped every few feet as we walked through the halls this past week by someone grieving for the loss of my father. His personality could fill the largest of rooms, without him there will be a hollow echo in the halls of Seabrook Village.
If you would like to honor the memory of Eddy Salvage, donations can be sent in his name to:
Jewish War Veterans Post 133
P. O. Box 5111
Somerset, NJ 08875-5111