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Timothy Charon — 2020 Person of the Year

‘A bright light in a world of darkness’

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Timothy Charon has a dream. He is committed to fulfilling what he remembers hearing as a 7-year-old when he watched the movie “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Charon, 37, said he wants to shine “a bright light in a world of darkness.” And he is sure he will succeed, through the volunteer effort Bayville Cares, which he founded with his wife, Kimberly, two years ago.

Bayville Cares was created to help people, Charon explained, and for that reason it does not have nonprofit status, or a bank account. If it did, he reasoned, he would not be able to do simple tasks for people, like rake their leaves or move furniture. 

The volunteer effort has committed to helping local businesses too. Charon reached out to local restaurants, delicatessens  and the Food Basket grocery store to arrange for residents to purchase gift cards. People who want to help a neighbor can buy a gift card and give it to Bayville Cares, which will then give it to people who are in need.   

Bayville Cares is but one way that Charon has volunteered in his community. He has always been there to help, whether it be a personal act of kindness or assisting another group’s endeavor, like a church’s food pantry.

Charon is a consummate volunteer who truly cares. We believe that he is the perfect choice for Herald Guardian 2020 Person of the Year. 

Originally from Glen Cove, he moved to Bayville in 2009. Even though he is not a lifelong resident, many in the tight-knit community seem to know him — perhaps not personally, but they are aware of what he does, they say, which is a great deal for his community.

Perhaps they remember when Charon, new to politics, was elected as a village trustee, receiving 1,322 votes, which was more than any other candidate. He served from 2014 to 2018, deciding not to run again because, he said, he had other ideas on how he could help.

Some are familiar with Charon through his work on his subsequent endeavor,  the now defunct nonprofit Friends and Families of Bayville. In existence from 2015 to 2017, its purpose, he said, was to fund the things in town that he had wanted to get done when he was a trustee.

“I put $4,000 into it, but in the long run, it wasn’t worth it,” he said. “I decided I didn’t want a board and to have people ask what we’re doing with the money. With Bayville Cares we don’t handle money.”

Another way that people may know of Charon is his commitment to keeping institutions of faith functioning, which has been difficult during the coronavirus pandemic. If they go under, Charon warned, we will have a problem in society, because these institutions provide much, not only spiritual guidance but also food pantries, help for the homeless, even spaces to hold Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. 

Charon has his own construction company, SiteTech NYC. Many people in the community met him when he offered to use his construction skills voluntarily to build what was needed to make the shuttered Boy Scout rooms Americans with Disability Act compliant. Ultimately he was unable to help the scouts, which he said was a disappointment, because the building is village owned. The work could not be done voluntarily, he was told.

There are many who know Charon on a more personal level. Lois Nadler, 84, described her neighbor as “someone who is too good to be true.” Charon had helped Nadler on many occasions, she said.

One summer afternoon, Nadler was enjoying the beach, as was Charon. He told her that he was looking forward to going away for the weekend with his family. Nadler remembers expressing concern about the weekend’s predicted hurricane.

“I said I wished I had a generator,” she recalled. “ Tim said, ‘You don’t need one. We have one. and I’m giving you the keys to my house.’”

Nadler didn’t end up taking Charon up on his offer, but she remains thankful for his kind ways. “It’s a secure feeling to have someone like him around here,” she said. “But he didn’t single me out like he needed to adopt a grandmother. He helps everyone.”

Bill Charon, Tim’s father, said he raised his six sons to help people. Tim is the second youngest. Every Sunday after church, Bill’s children would cut the lawn or rake the leaves for the elderly from Trinity Lutheran Church.

“I could always count on Tim to be there,” said Bill, who has lived in Glen Cove for 42 years. “He’s a worker kind of guy. He always knew the right thing to do was help people in need.”

Kim Charon described her husband as a “people person.” She met him at a party in her hometown of Merrick when she was 16. Tim, a senior, asked her to his prom three weeks later. And then they began dating.

“There was something special about Tim, and I knew it from the first time I met him,” Kim said. “We’ve grown up together. I’ve seen him go through so many phases of life, and it’s always positive.”

Bayville Cares is a family affair, she said. Their children, Madison, 9 and Parker, 7, help bag groceries for food drives and accompany Kim and Tim when they drop the groceries off, remaining in the car. “It was like road tripping around Bayville for our children,” Kim said. “Everything we do for Bayville Cares brings us closer as a family.”        

Charon started Bayville Cares in 2018, after he read several posts on Facebook. People were upset about the garbage on West Shore Road, a county road that leads into Bayville. Charon got a group of residents together, but the country requested that he not move forward. So he had the group clean other places, like the beach, where Charon said they found needles that had washed up onto the shore.

“Then I found out that a woman in Texas was looking for a handyman for her elderly mother who lived in Bayville,” he said. “Kim and I said she shouldn’t have to pay for that. We helped her.”

There are so many people who need help, Charon said, even without the complications of the coronavirus

Barbara Garriel, of Bayville, had been trying to help people in the community too. With an email list of only 35, she decided to reach out to Charon, who had a large Facebook following.

“I wanted to help the businesses who’ve had a rough time,” Garriel said. “Tim put information up on his Facebook page about our efforts at Village Church of Bayville’s food pantry. Although I don’t know him personally, I can see that he is very gracious, accommodating and generous.”

Charon said he was happy to help the Village Church. He wants Bayville Cares to serve as a network to promote church’s and organizations’ efforts to help the community.

Kim said her husband is one of the most compassionate and giving people that she’s ever known. “He always looks for the good for the community,” she said, “and never takes no for an answer. He doesn’t care what other people think. He will always do the right thing for the greater good.”

Heide Leuthner Decker volunteered with Charon before the pandemic, helping Bayville seniors. “What Tim is doing is needed everywhere,” she said. “We need more kindness and we all need each other. I love that he’s also teaching his children to give back.”

 Bayville Cares has helped roughly 40 families during the pandemic, Kim said. Her husband said he wants to expand its efforts. He is working on a program for other communities to follow, a blueprint similar to Bayville Cares. He said he would like to put a Bayville Cares program in every community across America. That way, he would be shining that bright light out into the world.