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2017 Robbinsville Parade Honorees

Renee Burns

Grand Marshal

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Originally from Ohio, Renee Burns relocated to New Jersey with her husband Bob in 1997 and began a part-time position with the (then-Washington Township) Senior Center in October of 2000.

After first working as a full-time Assistant to the Director of the SC, Renee has served as the Director of the past 11-plus years.

Her vision upon taking over the position was to allow the facility to serve as a resource center for all Robbinsville senior residents and the community at large. The SC also is the main pulse of the Robbinsville Food Pantry, which assists the non-profit Meals on Wheels program and the Mercer County Nutrition Program. Renee has helped reshape the center and its goals as “baby boomers” are coming of age, along with the township’s rapid growth, so that there is something for everyone. The Robbinsville Senior Center has seniors participating in programs from ages ranging from the 60s to 90s. Renee is a giving, compassionate and thoughtful person. Through her training and volunteer service on various boards and non-profits, she feels blessed to live and work in a Township where she can give back to the community and have the support from Mayor Fried, Administrator Joy Tozzi and Township Council.
Renee and Bob Burns have a daughter, Dawn Marie Exner, who is married to Justin residing in Haymarket Virginia and have blessed the family with four beautiful grandchildren: Ethan, Avery, Owen and Ella. Renee also travels bi-monthly to Virginia to spend time with her 90-year-old mother, along with her daughter and grandchildren.

Mike Coggins

Irish Person of the Year

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Mike Coggins has been a proud member of the Robbinsville community since 2004 when he relocated from Chicago to begin a new opportunity with a Princeton-based company. The position didn’t last, but Mike’s love of the area did, and 2017 will mark the Coggins family’s 13th year in Robbinsville. For a kid who grew up in southern Ohio, being “at the heart of it all” in Robbinsville means a short drive to major cities and an actual ocean--which still seems pretty cool after 13 years!

Born in Tokyo and the only son of an Air Force officer, Mike lived on multiple air bases by the age of 4, when his parents settled at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH, where Mike grew up perfecting the art of being a very average kid.

After graduating from THE Ohio State University in 1985--where he marched in the band and met his future wife, Diana—Mike put his bachelor’s degree to work proudly waiting tables, before succumbing to the notion that a non-foodservice job might be the way to go. Lacking direction or what most deem employable skills, he settled into a career in commercial dinnerware sales to restaurants and hotels that has somehow spanned 30 years.

Mike and Diana have always enjoyed the community spirit that comes from hours spent at the Robbinsville school and sports-related activities of their four daughters—Abby, Kate, Lily, and Caroline—who’ve brought sports, music, and drama (the stage kind AND the teenage kind) into the Coggins home. The bonds formed with players, parents, and fellow volunteers during many seasons coaching youth sports have enabled Mike to know and truly appreciate the Robbinsville neighbors and friends he’s come to know.

Being selected Robbinsville’s “Irish Person of the Year” would surely bring a chuckle and a hug from his parents (both deceased), to whom Mike owes his gift of gab (dad) and sense of humor (mom). Both were dyed-in-the-wool Boston-Irish, and will no doubt be smiling down on this year’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
Copyright © 2017 Robbinsville Irish Heritage Association