By Sue Morgan
Ben Lucarelli is one of those people who volunteers for seemingly everything.
He's coached kids' soccer, lacrosse and hockey in Fair Haven, his hometown of 17 years. He's served on the board of the Two River Theatre (and oversaw the construction of its breathtaking home on Bridge Avenue a few years back). He was president of the Monmouth Day Care Center. The list goes on.
That list also includes stints as the auctioneer at fundraisers for many of the charities he's associated with.
"When you grow up on the mean streets of Rumson with red hair and a name like Lucarelli, you learn to talk fast," he tells redbankgreen with a laugh.
But in his newest role, Lucarelli says, he plans to slow down, listen and absorb.
Lucarelli took his seat on the Fair Haven Council Monday night after his fellow Republicans unanimously selected him to complete the remaining 10 months of former councilman Tom Gilmours unexpired term.
He's got no particular agenda other than to serve well and help the town navigate key questions starting with the pending issue of whether Fair Haven will job out its emergency dispatch operations to the Monmouth County Sheriff's 911 Communications Center.
"I'm just looking to lend my talents to the town," he says. "To keep an open mind and do the right thing."
Lucarelli, 47, runs the single-employee Red Bank-based Lucarelli Construction, a family business of strip shopping center holdings.
His colleagues in the municipal GOP had approached him in the past and urged him to seek elected office. But until recently, he was overbooked with other commitments.
Now, his three children are 19, 16 nd 13 years old, and he's starting to see some daylight. In fact, he's already planning to run for a full term in November.
"My children are grown, and I've gotten the green light from my family," he says.